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Kingston port officials will discuss ORCA cards, SoundRunner subsidy on Monday
KINGSTON — With the help of some federal funding, the SoundRunner ferry system may be offering ORCA cards by November. The Port of Kingston commission will be meeting Monday to formally accept the SoundRunner into the ORCA system, as an affiliate of Kitsap Transit.
General manager Meisha Rouser said SoundRunner will be using some of the $764,000 in federal funding they received in August to pay for the $67,590 in software equipment, participation fee and shared costs with Kitsap Transit.
The commission will also discuss whether to continue subsidizing SoundRunner.
The commission meets at 7 p.m. in the port office, 25864 Washington Blvd NE in Kingston. The meeting is open to the public.
Commissioners previously committed to subsidize the service with up to $200,000 each year for the next four years. With an anticipated fuller rider base from ORCA users, Rouser said they are taking another look at the Port's partnership with the passenger ferry service.
“No one else has done a program like this,” she said. “ In the short term, the port has been great, but we also need to start looking at a long term plan for this.”
The transit’s board of commissioners voted to approve SoundRunner as their affiliate in the ORCA system on Sept. 12, Rouser said.
ORCA, or “One Regional Card for All,” is the fare transit card for King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties, managed by seven transportation systems, including Kitsap Transit.
The system should be in place by November, said Rouser, and they are anticipating a large increase in ridership.
“We’ve been told [without ORCA] that’s the biggest reason they’ve not been able to commute [through SoundRunner],” Rouser said. SoundRunner averages 37 round-trip passengers from Kingston to downtown Seattle. SoundRunner also offers special-event trips.