U-PASS Powered by ORCA FAQ

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About the U-PASS powered by ORCA

What is ORCA?

ORCA stands for One Regional Card for All. It is the regional transit fare payment system.

Why did the U-PASS program transition to ORCA?

All transit pass programs in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties, including U-PASS, are required to transition to using the ORCA system for fare payment.

When did the U-PASS transition to ORCA?

UW moved to the ORCA pass at the start of autumn quarter 2011.

Why was a smart chip added to my Husky Card?

The smart chip is necessary for transitioning to the U-PASS powered by ORCA.  All transit pass programs in the region, including the U-PASS program, are required to transition to utilizing the ORCA system for fare payment.

What is the smart chip?

The smart chip is a short-range radio frequency identification (RFID) chip within the Husky Card that stores the U-PASS transit benefit and interacts with the ORCA system. The smart chip is programmed to only work with the ORCA system.

Is the Husky Card different from the standard ORCA card?

Yes. The Husky Card is not a standard ORCA card. In order to provide the convenience of a single card to all campus services, UW decided to include the smart chip inside your Husky ID Card instead of issuing standard ORCA cards. The transit portion of your U-PASS uses the ORCA system to process payment for transit, but does not provide access to the full range of ORCA program features.

To purchase a standard ORCA Card and take advantage of the E-purse, card registration, auto-load or other ORCA program features, please go to http://www.orcacard.com.

How do I get a Husky Card?

All current students, faculty and staff can get their Husky Card from the Office of the Registrar in Mattress Factory 253. Husky Cards must be picked up in person; they cannot be mailed.

Can I get a Husky Card without my picture on it?

No. Photos are required for all Husky Cards. Your picture helps protect your card from improper use if it is lost or stolen.


Caring for your Husky Card and U-PASS

Can I put a hole in my card so I can attach it to a lanyard?

No. Punching a hole in the card may damage the smart chip or antenna.

How can I protect the smart chip in my card?

The smart chip is like a small computer embedded inside your card.  Do not bend, cut, wash or otherwise damage your card.

Will a magnet erase the U-PASS and other data on my smart chip?

No. Smart chips are not magnetically encoded. Running a magnet over the chip or using a tap eraser will not affect the smart chip. However, a magnet will likely deactivate the magstripe used for campus services, so keep all magnets away from your Husky Card.

Will having my Husky Card close to other cards with smart chip technology affect my U-PASS?

If you try to use your U-PASS on transit while your Husky Card is adjacent to a standard ORCA card or another card with smart chip technology, your U-PASS may not work properly. If this happens, hold your Husky Card separate from all other cards with smart chips when tapping it on the ORCA card reader.


Using your Husky Card with U-PASS

How will I know if I have purchased a U-PASS?

You can check whether you have purchased a U-PASS by visiting the U-PASS channel on MyUW. 

How do I activate my U-PASS?

Permanent Faculty and Staff:

To participate in the U-PASS program, complete the online payroll deduction form to initiate purchase of a non-expiring U-PASS. Your U-PASS will be available for transit within 48 hours. U-PASS activation for transit is uploaded onto the readers on buses when they are at the base (i.e. not on the road). Train station readers are updated daily.

To finalize the activation of your U-PASS for use on transit, you must use it for transit service within 60 days of purchase. Tapping your card on the ORCA reader updates your chip and finalizes activation of your U-PASS for transit.

Students:

Purchase a quarterly U-PASS membership by opting into it via the Optional Charges page found in the MyUW/Student Personal Services suite during the online registration process. Students will be allowed to change their U-PASS selection up to the 7th calendar day of the quarter at no cost per the standard registration rules and the tuition refund schedule.

After the 7th calendar day of the quarter, students may purchase a U-PASS by visiting the online purchase website at http://www.tacoma.uw.edu/getting-campus/students-purchasing-u-pass. The cost of the U-PASS will not be prorated and all sales are final.

Your U-PASS will be available for transit within 48 hours. U-PASS activation for transit is uploaded onto the readers on buses when they are at the base (i.e. not on the road). Train station readers are updated daily.

To finalize the activation of your U-PASS for use on transit, you must use it for transit service within 60 days of purchase. Tapping your card on the ORCA reader updates your chip and finalizes activation of your U-PASS for transit.

Note for Summer Quarter: Students must be registered for the current Summer Quarter in order to qualify to purchase a U-PASS. Employee U-PASSes are available for purchase for permanent (not hourly/student appointments) employees only. Inquire with your local transit agency in order to purchase a transit pass for over the summer period.

What happens if I don’t tap my card within the 60-day activation period?

You need to submit a reactivation request at www.u-pass.washington.edu/reactivate. Your U-PASS will be available for transit within 48 hours after you submit your reactivation request. Please note that after you reactivate, you must use your card on transit within 60 days to finalize your U-PASS powered by ORCA membership. 

How do I use my U-PASS powered by ORCA?

Tap & Pause and you’re good to go!

Use U-PASS on the Bus

  1. Tap your Husky Card on the bus (tap on logo on the ORCA card reader at the front of the bus)
  2. Pause until you see the green light and hear the beep.
  3. Depending on your route, you may tap your card on the ORCA reader either upon boarding or exiting.

On Swift and Rapid Ride

  1. Tap your Husky Card on the logo at the station prior to boarding* (tap on logo on the ORCA card reader)
  2. Pause until you see the green light and hear the beep.

You must tap your card prior to boarding. You may be asked to provide your Husky Card to a fare inspector who will check for proof of payment. If you have not tapped your card on the reader prior to boarding, you may be subject to a citation and a $124 fine.

*At RapidRide Stations, you have the option to tap your Husky Card on the ORCA reader at the station or on the reader on the bus as you enter.

On Central Link Light Rail and Sounder Services

  1. Tap your Husky Card on the logo at the station prior to boarding (tap on logo on the ORCA card reader)
  2. Pause until you see the green light and hear the beep.
  3. Tap on the reader at the destination station after exiting the train.

You may be asked to provide your Husky Card to a fare inspector on the train who will check for proof of payment. If you have not tapped your card on the reader prior to boarding, you may be subject to a citation and a $124 fine.

Will my U-PASS work between quarters/during breaks? (Students only)

If you opt into or purchase your U-PASS 9 days before the upcoming quarter starts, your U-PASS will be active between quarters/during breaks. If you opt in or purchase your U-PASS less than 9 days before the next quarter begins, your U-PASS will be inactive and will reactivate approximately 48 hours after you opt in or make your purchase.

Can I use my U-PASS for Paratransit Services?

Paratransit eligible U-PASS members can use U-PASS to pay for paratransit trips. When booking a trip, you must identify that you have a valid U-PASS in order to use your U-PASS to pay your fare. Additional instructions for each transit agency.

Can I use my U-PASS on InterCity Transit (Olympia)?

No, InterCity Transit services are not covered by the U-PASS program. You will need to purchase a separate pass or pay your fare with cash to access InterCity services.

Can I use my U-PASS for Washington State Ferries Services?

No. The U-PASS in only valid for services provided by King County Metro, Sound Transit, Community Transit, Pierce Transit, Kitsap Transit and Everett Transit.

Can I load a Washington State Ferries pass or PugetPass onto my Husky Card?

Yes. Washington State Ferries passes and PugetPasses can be loaded onto the Husky Card. Visit www.orcacard.com to learn more about loading a ferry pass onto your card.

If you choose to add a pass onto your Husky Card and your card is lost, stolen or damaged, neither the UW nor the ORCA agencies will replace those products.  If you want to receive the benefits associated with ORCA card registration and/or the ability to replace ORCA products you’ve added if your card is lost, stolen, defective or damaged, please contact ORCA to purchase a standard ORCA Card: http://www.orcacard.com.

Can I load money into my Husky Card Account and use it for transit fare?

No. The Husky Card Debit Account cannot be used for transit services.

Can I load funds onto my ORCA E-Purse to use on the bus, train or ferry?

No. The E-Purse is not available on Husky Cards. To purchase a standard ORCA Card for E-purse usage, please go to http://www.orcacard.com.

Can I register my Husky Card with the ORCA System?

No. For security purposes and confidentiality of travel data, Husky Cards cannot be registered within the ORCA system. The University of Washington made the decision to block card registration to protect your data.

Can I load a PugetPass or Washington State Ferries pass onto my card after I graduate or leave UW?

The smart chip with your Husky Card may be permanently deactivated after you leave the UW.  Any pass on the card will be lost when the chip is deactivated and will not be replaced by UW or the ORCA agencies.  You can load passes onto your Husky Card at your own risk, but it is not recommended. To purchase a standard ORCA Card, please go to http://www.orcacard.com.

Can I lend my U-PASS to others?

No, your U-PASS is for your personal transportation only. It is non-transferable, meaning you may not give or sell your Husky Card or your U-PASS to any other person. Bus drivers and train fare inspectors can confiscate any Husky Card that does not belong to you.


Vanpool

How do I sign up for U-PASS vanpool credit?

You will need to register as a vanpooler in order to receive the U-PASS vanpool credit. You can visit the Vanpool Registration Site and register your information as directed.

Do I need to renew my Vanpool registration each year?

Yes. You will need to renew your Vanpool registration annually. Vanpool registrations expire at the end of June each year.


Paratransit

Is my U-PASS valid for Paratransit services?

Yes, your U-PASS is valid for Paratransit Services.


Troubleshooting issues with your Husky Card and U-PASS Powered by ORCA

The ORCA card reader shows a value of 0.00 when I tap my U-PASS. Is this an error?

If the ORCA reader shows a green light, beeps and displays the word “PASS,” your U-PASS is functioning properly. The cash value shown on the reader is for other ORCA products not related to the U-PASS program.

Who do I contact if my new Husky Card doesn’t work for campus services?

Call or visit the Office of the Registrar located in MAT 253, phone number 253-692-4913.

My Husky Card has been lost, stolen or damaged. How do I get a new one?

Please inform the Office of the Registrar immediately if you believe your Husky Card has been lost or stolen. They will be able to suspend activity on your Husky Card account until the Husky Card is found or replaced. Visit the Office of the Registrar in order to obtain a new card.

It is your responsibility to take care of your Husky Card. If your card is lost or damaged and you require a replacement, you will be charged a $20 replacement fee.  

Your U-PASS powered by ORCA will be transferred electronically when your new Husky Card is printed and will be available for use 48 hours after card replacement.

Who do I contact if my U-PASS powered by ORCA does not work on the bus or train?

Faculty and Staff:

Faculty and staff should contact the Payroll Coordinator at ddauron@uw.edu or 253-692-5664.

Students:

Students should contact the Cashier’s Office at 253-692-4669.


Security measures associated with the U-PASS powered by ORCA

Can I receive a Husky Card without a smart chip or can my smart chip be disabled if I am not a U-PASS participant?

No. The university is unable to disable the smart chip or issue Husky Cards without the smart chip.

What personal information is stored on the smart chip?

No personal information or UW data is stored on the smart chip. Data on the smart chip indicates if you have an active U-PASS powered by ORCA or not, and processes transit transactions.

Does the ORCA system store my personal information?

No. Personally identifiable information such as your name or UW ID number are NOT stored on the smart chip or within the ORCA system. The University does not send names, UW ID numbers or other personally-identifiable information to ORCA. No personally-identifiable information is collected by the ORCA system when you use your U-PASS.

Does the UW send personally-identifiable information to the ORCA system when activating/deactivating my U-PASS?

No. No names, UW ID numbers or other personally identifiable information is sent to the system when activating or deactivating the U-PASS.

Can someone else easily read the data on the smart chip in my card?

The smart chip is a passive, short-range RFID chip that can only be read at short distances. For more information about what can be read from the chip, view the ORCA Privacy Statement.

Where is my travel data stored?

Travel data is stored in the ORCA databases controlled by the transit agencies. This data is used for billing purposes and does not include personally-identifiable information.

Information about your most recent transit trips is also included on the smart chip in order to support transfer functions and fare apportionment amongst participating transit agencies.  For more information, view the ORCA Privacy Statement.

For users of NFC-equipped Android phones, there is now an app called FareBot for downloading trip data from an ORCA card (http://news.cs.washington.edu/2013/02/13/insecurity-of-the-orca-regional-transit-not-so-smart-card/).

Data on the last ten trips are stored on an ORCA card and can be viewed using this app. Regular ORCA card users can obtain a printout of this same data at ORCA card retailers or they can register their cards in the ORCA system to view their complete trip making history. UW Husky ID Cards cannot be registered in the ORCA system. Prior to the availability of this app, U-PASS members who were interested in viewing their trip history had no access to their own data.

The RFID chip in the Husky Card is a short-range chip and a phone must be less than four inches away from the card to read it. The card must stay within this range for a couple seconds to read the data (similar to the pause that is needed when tapping an ORCA reader).

U-PASS members who are concerned about someone using this app to download data on their last ten trips are encouraged to purchase an RFID protective sleeve. The sleeve protects the card from minor scratches while shielding it from RFID readers. These sleeves are available for purchase from the Husky Card Account and ID center at UW Seattle.

No personally-identifiable information or UW data is stored on the smart chip. During the development of U-PASS powered by ORCA, UW Transportation Services consulted at length with faculty and students in the Computer Science and Engineering department on measures to protect U-PASS member privacy and security. The systems have been designed to segregate personally-identifiable information and ORCA data. All policies and procedures are in strict compliance with the UW Electronic Information Privacy Policy on Personally-Identifiable Information.

Can the smart chip within my Husky Card be used to track me?

The smart chip is a passive, short-range RFID chip. It can only be read within a few inches of a reader and the chip stores no personally-identifiable information. You can use a RFID protective sleeve to prevent your card from being read. RFID protective sleeves are available for purchase at the Husky Card Account and ID Office in Seattle. Please note, the RFID protective sleeve must be removed when you use your U-PASS for transit.

Does UW track where I use my U-PASS?

No. The Finance Office is the only office with information on who has a valid U-PASS and keeps this information private in accordance with the UW Electronic Information Privacy Policy on Personally-Identifiable Information. The Finance Office does not have access to your personally-identifiable travel data.


Other uses of the Smart Chip

Can the smart chip in the Husky Card be used for parking and other campus services?

No. The magnetic stripe is still used for campus services, including the Convenience Store, Copy Center and UW Libraries.

Can the smart chip be used for other University of Washington services?

No. The smart chip can only be used for U-PASS at this time.


Purchasing a U-PASS

How can I purchase my U-PASS?

Faculty and Staff:

A U-PASS can be purchased at anytime by completing the online payroll deduction form. The faculty/staff U-PASS automatically renews each quarter until you request it to be turned off.

Students:

Purchase a quarterly U-PASS membership by opting into it via the Optional Charges page found in the MYUW/Student Personal Services suite during the online registration process.  Students will be allowed to change their U-PASS selection up to the 7th calendar day of the quarter at no cost per the standard registration rules and the tuition refund schedule.

After the 7th Day of the quarter students who did not opt into the U-PASS program and want to purchase one can do so thru the online student U-PASS order form.

Your U-PASS will be activated 48 hours after purchase. Customers will be responsible for paying their own fare between purchase and activation on transit.

Payment is due at the time that tuition is due. Payment, or no payment, of the U-PASS until the tuition payment deadline does not affect your ability to use the U-PASS.

When can I purchase my U-PASS?

Faculty and Staff:

UW Tacoma faculty and staff may purchase a U-PASS at any time by completing the online payroll deduction form.

Students:

Students wanting to purchase a U-PASS can do so when registering for classes each quarter through the Optional Charges section of MyUW. After the 7th Day of the quarter students who did not opt into the U-PASS program and want to purchase one can do so thru the online student U-PASS order form.

How long is my U-PASS valid?

Faculty and Staff:

Your U-PASS is non-expiring, i.e. your U-PASS is valid until you elect to cancel your deductions or you become ineligible. If unused for longer that 90 days, the UPASS function will expired from your Husky ID and you must request to have the UPASS function reactivated through the UPASS Reactivation Form.

Students:

Please check the link for Importation UPASS Dates.

Can I use my U-PASS powered by ORCA as soon as I purchase it?

No, it takes up to 48 hours to activate your U-PASS. Be sure to purchase it prior to needing it for your daily transportation needs. You will be responsible for paying your transit fare for up to two business days between purchasing your U-PASS and its activation on transit.

For students who opt into the U-PASS at least 9 days before the quarter starts will have their U-PASS activated one week prior to the first day of classes.

Why does it take 48 hours to activate the U-PASS?

The ORCA system updates twice a day with new pass purchases. U-PASS activation for transit is uploaded onto the readers on buses when they are at the base (i.e. not on the road) and the buses are on the road most of the day. Train station readers are updated daily.


Changing your U-PASS membership (Faculty/Staff)

How can I return my U-PASS?

If you leave UW Tacoma employment, your U-PASS will be turned off after two missed payroll deductions. You are responsible for the cost of your U-PASS until it is deactivated.

If you no longer want your U-PASS, complete the online cancellation form to deactivate your U-PASS and stop payroll deductions. Once you deactivate your U-PASS, you can reactivate it at any time by returning to the website and restarting payroll deductions.

Will my U-PASS be deactivated if I miss a payroll deduction?

If you have insufficient funds to pay the payroll deduction for your U-PASS for two consecutive payroll deductions, your U-PASS will be deactivated. You will need to bring your account out of arrears before your U-PASS can be reactivated. However, if you are on a non-paid leave of absence, the full amount of deductions missed will be taken from your pay upon returning to work if you do not manually cancel your U-PASS online.


Changing your U-PASS membership (Student)

I made my U-PASS selection at registration. Can I change my U-PASS selection?

You can change your U-PASS selection up to the 7th calendar day of the quarter via the Optional Charges page at MyUW. You will not be allowed to opt out of the U-PASS program after the 7th calendar day of the quarter (including weekends and holidays).

Will my U-PASS be deactivated if I withdraw from the UW?

If you withdraw from all classes at the UW, your U-PASS will be deactivated and you may be eligible for a U-PASS fee credit on your student account based on when you withdrew.

What are the U-PASS terms of use?

The U-PASS terms of use outlines the terms and conditions associated with your participation in the U-PASS program.

Why do I need to read and agree to the U-PASS terms of use?

Reading and agreeing to the U-PASS terms of use is a requirement for issuing the new U-PASS powered by ORCA. It is your responsibility to understand and abide by the information in the U-PASS terms of use.