A Fare-Free Weekend Ushers in a New ORCA Card System

Fare enforcement has been lax lately, but this weekend, it’s unambiguously legal to ride for free.

As a new ORCA card system is set to debut Monday, travelers on light rail, buses, Monorail, and streetcars won’t need to tap their plastic passes to board between 3am Saturday and 2:59am Monday. Those walking onto Washington State Ferries won’t either, but they will have to flash their cards. Drive-ons must fork over the fare per usual, albeit with alternate forms of payment.

That’s because the ORCA card system, with 6,000-plus pieces of aging equipment, is prepping for a major reboot. Starting Monday, a new website and smartphone app will allow riders to instantly load

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