Seattle – Following her commitment to provide free ORCA passes to young people in Seattle, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan was at Rainier Beach High School with Seattle Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau to hand out ORCA cards and to celebrate the successful launch of the ORCA Opportunity program. By partnering with King County Metro, Seattle Public Schools, and Seattle Colleges the City of Seattle is now the largest city in the country to offer free, year-round, public transportation to all Seattle Public Schools high school students as well as Seattle Promise scholars and income eligible middle school students.
“Seattle is committed to expanding access to transit and making it an affordable and reliable transportation option for our young people. Providing ORCA cards to Seattle’s students will build opportunity and ensure that generations to come can access every corner of our City for school and work,” said Mayor Durkan. “The civic engagement of students at Rainier Beach High School was critical to help move this bill forward, and here we are today, celebrating together, the result of their advocacy.”
“I want to thank the hundreds of Rainer Beach students who advocated for enhanced transportation options. You raised your voice and we listened. This is just one example of the great things that can happen when our work is centered on the perspectives of youth and the City of Seattle, King County and District work together in support of our students and families,” said Denise Juneau, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools.
In 2015, Rainier Beach High School students advocated for transit equity for low-income students throughout Seattle. In 2018, more than 800 students at Rainier Beach High School will receive the ORCA card benefit.
ORCA Opportunity uses existing funds from the voter approved Seattle Transportation Benefits District (STBD). The STBD has generated about $45 million to improve transit for a six-year period from 2014-2020.