More than 10 years after the regional ORCA pass system first debuted in Seattle, and two years after then-mayor Ed Murray first proposed the idea, the monorail will start accepting the cards on October 7, 2019. Gone are the days of having to pay cash (the monorail only started accepting credit cards a little over a year ago), as riders will be able to hop on or swiftly transfer to the monorail with nothing more than that quick, satisfying beep. Paper transfers, however, won't fly.
With the good news also comes the bad: The monorail will raise fares to offset any losses from this newfound acceptance of ORCA cards. Adult one-way rides jump from $2.50 to $3 and kids pay an extra $0.25, though children five and younger will remain free.
Rising prices aside, we gladly accept this new era of the monorail, one that caters to actual Seattle commuters and not just tourists headed to the Space Needle after scoring that pho in Pike Place Market. Trips to the Nutcracker need not require horrific waits in the Mercer Mess. Toting kids to the next-level Artists at Play playground will be (slightly) less of a chore. Hell, downtown workers can even jump on the monorail for the sole purpose of obtaining The Cookie from Met Market. All it takes is a mere two-minute glide from Westlake to Seattle Center. Let's see any Metro bus beat that.