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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Student access to busing is limited

// Illustration by Cody Clark

By Emily Erskine

While I am thrilled that Western offers alternative options to driving, I remain deeply unsatisfied with my morning commute to school. 

Every day I arrive at my bus stop early, yet every morning bus after bus passes me, packed full of other students. I stand in the rain, miserable, tired and almost out of options. 

If you’re going to offer a bus service and charge a transportation fee to all students, then give all students access to busing. 

I get it, buses reach a certain capacity. There is only so much sardine-like shoving we can all do to fit on the hot, sweaty, stinky, germ-infested bus. But my god, if every bus is full in the morning, provide more buses. 

Every morning is a gamble. Will I or won’t I make it on the bus this time? Some mornings, I manage to escape inconvenience and cram in, but even on those glorious days, the bus zooms past other stops with students who didn’t make the cut. 

On the bad mornings, the mornings I dread, every bus drives past me and I must make the decision of whether I should take the L and walk the 17 minutes all uphill and be late to class anyways, or if I should wait around another 15 minutes for the next bus in hopes of fitting on and still be late. 

Sometimes I just go back to bed.

This really would be less of an issue if driving to campus wasn’t so impossible. But not only are passes scarce and spots few, but if you are one of the lucky ones to score a pass, it is not cheap. An annual parking pass is approximately $300, and that does not even guarantee you a spot. Not to mention, parking tickets are given out like candy on Halloween. According to reporting done by The Western Front last spring, Western made $585,490 on parking tickets in 2018.

If we can’t park on campus, and walking is too far, we should at least have access to enough buses. I really don’t think that’s too much to ask.


  1. Whatcom Transit Authority (the “bus”) doesn’t receive revenue from parking tickets issued by WWU. The revenue generated by the parking lots at WWU pays for…the parking lots at WWU.

    If we got rid of the parking lots, you’d never have to pay for a permit or a parking ticket again.

    I remember working in Chicago some years ago, waiting for the bus (which I had paid a flat monthly fee to ride) and watching full, late buses pass me by.

    I also recall standing on subway platforms in NYC, watching full, late trains pass me by.

    I used to work in an Amtrak station and when people asked my why the train was always late, I would say “did you ever notice how wide, flat, well-lit, well-painted, plowed, and beautiful the freeway is? With the lights and reflectors and guardrails and all that? Well, that’s where the money went for transportation in America.”

  2. Anyone that has an problem with transportation on campus is more than welcome to send me an email at as.vp.sustainability@wwu.edu to learn a bit more, sit down and chat or ask any questions. Also you can get involved with transportation on campus and the dealings through the Office of Transportation and committees like the Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee (PTAC) and the Alternative Transportation Fee (ATF) committee

  3. If they made $585,490 a year in parking tickets, they can afford more busses. If a student pays the tuition, they should have an option to get to class on time. A college education is a huge commitment for students. The college should step up and make a commitment to the students.

  4. Yessssss!! How much do western students pay WTA for our mandatory “transportation fees” yet the busses zoom past your stop because they are full and the next bus doesn’t come for another half hour. And that doesn’t count the people who don’t even take the bus!!

  5. I understand this so well. I started going to another stoo further away from campus becuase I have that option, just to try and get on the bus. I have messed up ankles and cant walk that far to class every single morning so waiting at the student services stop was my option but bus after bus just passed by….


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