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ORCA Comes to the Monorail: All Aboard!

Monorail. Photo courtesy of Niki Seligman.


The ORCA Card program is robust, allowing folks to easily tap onto King County Metro, Sound Transit, Community Transit, Everett Transit, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, the Seattle Streetcar, the King County Water Taxi, and Washington State Ferries. Now, Seattle Center Monorail will join the ORCA family in October!


Monorail will begin accepting ORCA starting Monday, October 7. Transit enthusiasts rejoice!


Here’s the story:


Monorail. Photo courtesy of Niki Seligman.


A study was conducted, at the request of Seattle City Councilmembers in 2014, to determine whether ORCA was a feasible fare option to implement on the Monorail.


Guess what: it was! Next steps? The process toward implementation.


Seattle Center Monorail is a public-private partnership between the city and Seattle Monorail Services (SMS). This meant that talks began between SMS and the City. Next came approval by the ORCA governing board and a partnership between the City of Seattle and King County Metro, who sponsors the Monorail’s participation in ORCA.



As part of Monorail accepting ORCA, changes will be made to fares.


Using ORCA Card at Seattle Center Monorail


The proposed fare change for adults is increasing from $2.50 to $3.00. Age classifications will also change to align with the seven regional transit agencies that are members of the ORCA system. All reduced fares will be $1.50 (youth, Regional Reduced Fare Program (RRFP) for seniors and people with disabilities, and ORCA LIFT).



What will this mean for your Monorail commute?



Seattle Center. Photo Credit: Scott Webb via Unsplash.



There are many benefits to using ORCA on the Monorail, including:

  • The ability to transfer from other forms of transit without paying for a new ticket;
  • The ease of using your ORCA card without having to dig through your wallet; and
  • Quick and easy access to a central hub.



When you arrive at the Monorail station, you’ll give your ORCA card to the Monorail cashier to pay your fare.


Squeeze Your Way Downtown


Seattle Ferris Wheel.

Seattle Ferris Wheel. Photo by Vincent Camacho, via Unsplash.



The Seattle Center Monorail has two stops, connecting you directly between the Seattle Center and downtown Seattle. Throughout the Seattle Squeeze, we are all working hard to reduce traffic on our streets as major infrastructure changes impact how we get around downtown.


Now, with tolling in the SR 99 tunnel beginning on November 9 which will bring more changes to traffic on our city streets in early November, the monorail’s direct connection in the heart of our city provides an opportunity to cut down on driving and save time on your commute.



Here’s what the Seattle Center had to say:

“We hope the ability to use ORCA on this vital link between Seattle Center and numerous downtown bus lines and Link Light Rail will result in greater transit use to our theaters, family destinations and other campus venues.”



The New Arena at Seattle Center is also excited about Monorail’s connection to the Arena!


“Transportation is a key priority for us to ensure our fans have a good experience getting to and from events at the New Arena at Seattle Center.

We are excited about the integration of ORCA on the Monorail. We expect Monorail will be a critical connection to get light rail riders (including our employees) to the New Arena at Seattle Center.”



History of the Monorail 



Did your eyes glaze over at the word history? Wait, give us a chance! Transit history is not like the others…


The monorail was thought up in the early 19th century in Russia, and first implemented in London. The first US debut of the monorail was at the happiest place on earth – Disneyworld. Thanks, Walt Disney! Then, the monorail came to our very own city in 1962 for the Seattle World’s Fair.


Now, ORCA and the Seattle Center Monorail are teaming up to create the next chapter for this fun and convenient transit option.


For general information about the Monorail, see this FAQ (Our personal favorite question: Are dogs allowed on the Monorail? Answer: YES!)




Person carrying a backpack with two dogs inside.

Photo by SDOT.


For more information about ORCA implementation on the Monorail, click here.