WWU Parking Services Manager Julia Gassman commutes by bus from Lynden at least twice a week. She started by trying the 25X Lynden Express route, and found that she can also use the bus to do errands on her way home by riding the bus from Western to the mall, then using another bus to get home to Lynden.
Commuting by bus saves Julia money and allows her to get some work done on the way. Julia says riding the bus takes a little planning, especially for those whose children need transportation after work. Julia’s goal is to commute by bus twice a week, so she plans ahead – when her daughter needs a ride, Julia brings a car to work. Sometimes Julia’s daughter takes the bus to Bellingham, and they meet up to do things together after work.
"It was tough changing my ways, but I caught myself telling my son and daughter 'you don’t need a car, you’re just spoiled'. Then I realized that I was just as spoiled. Driving my gas guzzler a few blocks down the road to go to the gym.”
Julia’s Secrets for Bus Success
- Plan ahead – know your routes and times.
- Take an extra ride stay on the warm bus and still make the connection, beats sitting at a station waiting for your connection
- Coordinate with friends and family members
- Work out carpool options with other parents for transporting my daughter
- Pack a lunch (save more money and eat healthier)
- Be prepared
- Backpack (she saved enough for a new one with her first week’s gas savings!)
- Shoes (she’s thinking of keeping “professional” shoes and jacket at work)
- Reading material
- iPod Shuffle
Julia’s Secret Weapon
- “I know I need a little sugar sometimes, so I keep a couple of granola bars and a drink in my bag.”
- My husband has been carpooling to BP for more than 10 years. Yes that is BP the gas refinery.
- My son is at WSU and does not have a car; he either carpools around or takes the bus.
- My daughter has gotten her friends to ride the bus to the mall, movies, or bowling. I guess she figured it beat asking me for a ride and have to listen to how much gas cost and how money doesn’t grow on trees.
"To continue using the bus and hopefully be able to give up my parking pass by next year. I know that’s a big step, but then I also thought riding the bus 2 to 3 times a week was too.
Riding the bus 2 days a week and giving up my permit could save about $1,500 a year.
Another goal is to start biking more at home when going on those 3 mile errands for little things. Makes sense get a workout in and save money. It’s a win win deal."