What is the Student Transit Benefit?

The PLU Student Transit Benefit offers students the opportunity to purchase a $15 Pierce County ORCA Card from the Lute Locker. This card will allow students to travel by bus for unlimited rides anywhere within Pierce County between September 2023-August 2024. This is a pilot program for the 2023-2024 school year funded by the DJS fee. There will be 250 cards available this year on a first come, first serve basis. Depending on the purchase and usage data collected, the program may continue into the next year and expand its reach.

Steps to Get Your PLU Orca Card

To get your Orca Card from PLU, you will need to:

  1. Fill out the Orca Card registration form, which can be found above on this page or at the Lute Locker through a QR code.
  2. Purchase the Orca Card at the Lute Locker for $15 (cash or card).
  3. Take your Orca Card and explore the community! (If you choose to post about your trip, use the hashtag #LutesOnTheMove).

How to Ride the Bus with Your Orca Card

  1. Plan your bus trip. The Transit app can be a helpful tool for this!
  2. Go to your bus stop and wait for the bus to arrive.
  3. Once your bus arrives, get on and tap your Orca Card at the reader.
  4. Find a spot on the bus to enjoy your ride.
  5. Pull the signal cord when your stop is coming up to request a stop at your destination. 
  6. When the bus stops at your destination, exit the bus.

What are the Benefits of the Program?

Student Orca Card

Registration Form

The Transit App can help you travel by bus with ease! It provides you with travel times, multiple route options, and the ability to track your progress along your trip with its “Go” feature.

Community Involvement & Access

PLU is located in the Parkland/Tacoma area. The community is rich with people and perspectives, as well as public resources that may benefit students. The Lute Transit benefit provides students with access to those public resources and an opportunity to get to know the surrounding community!


The Lute Transit Benefit offers PLU students a Pierce County Orca Card at the low cost of $15 for the year. The same local Orca Card would typically cost $62 per month. The $15 students pay for their PLU Orca Card is also more affordable than paying for maintenance or gas for their personal vehicle. This is a more affordable option for students who already rely on public transit and students who have personal vehicles.


PLU strives to build sustainable practices. The Lute Transit Benefit supports the value of sustainability through encouraging and providing access to public transit. The more people who ride the bus, the less cars there are releasing CO2 emissions and other air pollutants that can harm both the earth and our community. Lutes can practice sustainability by using their PLU Orca Card to travel rather than a personal vehicle.

Recommended Places to Travel With Lute Transit Benefit

Goodwill – 23 minutes

Thrifters! Hop on the bus and take a trip to the local Goodwill to discover your next find!

Parkland Putters – 30 minutes

Looking for something fun to do with friends? Play some mini golf at Parkland Putters!

Erica Peace Love And Ice Cream – 30 minutes

Erica’s is a Mexican snack and dessert destination. Stop by to try their fruit, ice cream, esquites, and more!

WinCo – 36 minutes

Shop for groceries at the local WinCo!

Wapato Park – 36 minutes

Enjoy time in nature and take a walk around the lake at Wapato Park!

Pal-Do World Market – 37 minutes

If you are looking to buy a more diverse range of groceries, check out Pal-Do World Market!

Lakewood Station – 40 min

Catch a train to Seattle at the Lakewood Station!

Rainbow Center – 47 minutes

The Rainbow Center is a safe space and resource for members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Take the bus and visit the center!

Tacoma Mall – 48 minutes

If you are looking to go shopping, head to the Tacoma Mall!

T-Town Cafe – 50 minutes

Stop by T-Town Cafe to get a taste of trendy Korean inspired food and desserts!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who do I contact if I have questions about the PLU Student transit program?

Stop by the Center for DJS or email djs@plu.edu.

Where do I report a missing, damaged, or stolen Orca Card?

Fill out the lost, stolen, or damaged ORCA Card form found here. A lost, damaged or stolen ORCA Card will cost $15 to replace.

How affordable is PLU's Student Orca Card?

Buying an Orca Card through the PLU Orca Card program only costs a one time fee of $15 for the 2023-2024 school year. This price has been reduced from the original price of $62 per month.

Where can I buy a PLU Orca Card?

You can purchase a PLU Orca Card at the Lute Locker! Check out the steps to getting a PLU Orca Card above under “Steps to Get Your PLU Orca Card.”

What methods of payment can I use to buy a PLU Orca Card?

You can use cash or card to buy your ORCA Card from the Lute Locker.

How long will my Orca Card work for?

PLU’s Orca Card will run from September to the next September. For example, an Orca Card purchased in the 2023-2024 school year will will be active and able to be used from September 1, 2023 – August 31, 2024.

If I buy my Orca Card after September, will my Orca Card continue to work after September next year?

No, the Orca Cards at PLU will be active from September to the end of August in the next year ( e.g. September 1, 2023 – August 31, 2024), so the card will still be active until the last day of August no matter when you buy it. For example, if you buy an Orca Card in February, your Orca Card will still only be active until August 31st, not the next February.

Where can I go with my PLU Orca Card?

Your PLU Orca Card can be used anywhere within Pierce County.

Is there a limit on how many times I can use my Orca Card?

No, there is no limit on how many times you can use your Orca Card!

How do I travel using public transit outside of Pierce County?

If you would like to travel outside of Pierce County with your Orca Card, you can add money to your Orca Card purse on the Orca Card website or you can bring the exact amount of cash needed on the bus to pay your fare.

About the Advertising

Deciding what the advertising for this program would look and feel like was very intentional. We decided on a paint pulling design and the tagline “Lutes on the Move” to represent what the program is about: movement. Both represent movement in the sense of physical movement — travel through the utilization of public transit — and in the sense of progression — the way that as Lutes we strive to move forward in efforts toward sustainability. The paint pulling also signifies trying something new. Similarly to how paint pulling may be something that many people have not tried yet, we know that many students may have not experienced riding the bus before. However, trying either can be rewarding. We wanted this message of movement and trying new things to be conveyed through the advertising of this program.  The design was created by Brandon Ducusin (PLU ‘2024).