Affordable Housing ORCA Passes Started at Capitol Hill Housing

CHH residents use ORCA card during EcoDistrict pilot program in 2017.

In 2017, the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict partnered with Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) property management and resident services to pilot offering discounted transit through the ORCA Multifamily Passport program (a new transit product for multifamily residential buildings) to 122 households living in three CHH buildings. A resounding success, residents were able to save money and access increased services across the region.  The program reached many residents who could not afford transit otherwise, even through existing discount programs like LIFT. The Affordable ORCA Passport Pilot received funding from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Enterprise Community Partners with coordination support from King County Metro and Sound Transit. In 2018, we wrote about the need to expand this program to affordable housing residents across King County.

This year, the City of Seattle announced a year-long free transit pass program for 1,500 Seattle Housing Authority residents using the same delivery model based on the ORCA Multifamily Passport. This is a welcome next step for increasing access for low income residents of affordable housing and demonstrates the value of our 2017 pilot.  We commend the City of Seattle for this program and hope to see this program expand to include even more affordable housing residents across King County in the future.