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Dubs says go graphicAll transit pass programs in the region have moved to ORCA technology and U-PASS is no exception. U-PASS has partnered with ORCA to include the region’s smart card transit technology inside your Husky Card to power your U-PASS member transit benefit. Instead of a U-PASS sticker, your U-PASS is now inside the smart chip in your card.

Faculty, staff and students who purchase U-PASS will be able to use it for payment on buses, Sounder trains and Link light rail. Riders simply tap their Husky card (with the U-PASS product activated) on the ORCA reader to show proof of payment. While the regional ORCA program allows access to ferry passes and fare payment, ferry service is not included with the U-PASS product. Ferry riders can purchase an ORCA card or WaveToGo card for fare payment.

Privacy issues and U-PASS

No personal information is stored on the smart chip. The chip contains a number with instructions to activate or deactivate U-PASS membership. The University of Washington sends files which contain these numbers to the region’s ORCA system. No names or UW ID numbers are included in the files. Limited trip data is also stored on the chip for the purpose of processing transit transactions or payment, but it is not associated with names or UW ID numbers.

Finance & Administration is the only office at UW Tacoma with information about who has a valid U-PASS and we will keep this information private in accordance with the UW privacy policy, UW Electronic Information Privacy Policy on Personally Identifiable Information.  Finance & Administration does not have access to individually identifiable trip data from the ORCA system.

Initial activation for new U-PASS members

Your new U-PASS needs to be activated after you purchase it. Activation takes three easy steps:

  1. Purchase
    To participate in the U-PASS program, you first purchase U-PASS membership at the campus where your primary work or academic major is based.
  1. Wait
    You must wait 24 to 48 hours after purchase before you can use your U-PASS on transit. 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.
  1. Tap within 60 days
    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. If you do not tap onto transit within 60 days, your U-PASS will not work for transit fare payment and you will need to request reactivation of your U-PASS transit benefit.


U-PASS members who do not finalize activation within 60 days of purchase must submit a reactivation request at www.u-pass.washington.edu/reactivate. Your U-PASS will be available for use on transit 24 to 48 hours after you submit your reactivation request. You must use tap your card on an ORCA card reader within 60 days of reactivation to finalize your U-PASS powered by ORCA membership.

U-PASS activation on a replacement Husky Card

If your Husky Card is lost, stolen or damaged, your U-PASS will be electronically transferred to your replacement Husky Card. Your U-PASS will be available for use on transit 24 to 48 hours after your replacement Husky Card is printed.  You must use tap your Husky Card on an ORCA card reader within 60 days of receiving your new Husky Card to finalize your U-PASS activation.


For immediate questions regarding the U-PASS or ORCA technology on the Tacoma campus, contact James Sinding, Auxiliary Services Manager.