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ORCA LIFT can get you where you need to go!

Do you take the bus? Then the ORCA LIFT program could be a great resource for you! If you qualify for the program, you could be paying just $1.50 to ride! The extra exciting news is that ORCA LIFT is expanding to Sound Transit buses on March 1st–there has never been a better time to enroll. ORCA LIFT is already making a real impact on bus riders. A few months ago, I helped a woman named Maria enroll in the program. Maria takes the bus into Seattle every day for her full-time job, so she purchases an unlimited monthly pass. Buying the pass was already a challenge for her, but when the price increased to $99 in March of 2015, it became even more of a financial strain. Now, with her new ORCA LIFT card, Maria pays only $54 to take the bus as much as she needs to, which adds up to real savings.
Affordable access to public transportation is an issue that is coming up in cities nationwide. Seattle is at the forefront of the movement to increase transit access through discounted passes. When transportation is affordable, the whole city becomes accessible; people can afford to get to a job interview outside of their neighborhood, or simply go to work every day like Maria. Having a reliable form of transportation is invaluable, and we are proud to participate in the ORCA LIFT effort that is leading the way and setting a positive example for other cities.

So now you’re probably wondering: “how can I sign up?” The ORCA LIFT application is done in person, and you actually receive your activated card on the spot! Another cool thing is that once you have your ORCA LIFT card, it is good for two years—no need to reapply yearly like other benefits programs.

How does it work?

You get a card that looks and works just like a regular reloadable ORCA card, except every time you use it, you’re charged a discounted rate.

How do I know if I qualify?

Eligibility for the ORCA LIFT program is based on income. If you are already enrolled in Washington Apple Health (Medicaid), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Basic Food (Food Stamps), you automatically qualify for the program and we can easily confirm your eligibility online or you can bring your award letter when we complete an enrollment.  If you are not already enrolled in one of the above programs, check to see if you are income-eligible (and get lots of other information here).

Where can I sign up?

Enrollments for ORCA LIFT must be done in person. Luckily, WithinReach will be at the Northgate Transit Center on Tuesday, March 15th, 3:30-5:30 (with coffee!) to sign you up.

Can’t make it on March 15th? We will also be back at the Northgate Transit Center, from 3:30-5:30 on these Tuesdays: March 1st, April 5th and 19th, and May 3rd and 17th. See you there!

There even more dates and locations where you can sign up! Call the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588 or King County Metro Customer Service at 206-553-3000 to find your closest enrollment location.

What should I bring?

  • Income verification
  • Identification– Driver’s license (any state or county, photo ID from any state, county, or country, Armed services ID with photo, ID from any foreign consulate, Passport from any country, school photo ID, Tribal ID, US certificate of citizenship, naturalization (signature, photo) any other form of government issued ID issued by a government agency of any country
  • If you do not have a government-issued photo ID, call Metro Customer Service or check King County Metro’s website for a list of acceptable documents.

Other questions? Call the Family Health hotline at 1-800-322-2588 or go to to find out more.

Tags: King County Metro Transit   Northgate Transit Center   ORCA LIFT   Seattle   Sound Transit   

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