Student Bus Pass

How does it work?

  • The student bus pass is a Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) bus pass, and provides unlimited rides on all WTA bus routes.
  • The bus pass is paid for by the Alternative Transportation Fee. The fee is $26.25 per quarter for the academic year, and $21 for summer quarter.
  • The student ID card works as a bus pass when the Transportation Fee is on the student account - swipe the ID card through the fare box when boarding the bus.


Who can have a student bus pass?

The following student groups are eligible:

  • Undergraduate students registered for at least 1 credit.
  • Graduate Students, regardless of class registration.
  • Summer Qtr Student Employees.


New Bus Pass System - June 28, 2017

The Student Transportation Program and WTA have been working together to improve the student bus pass. The new system eliminates the need to encode a bus pass onto the ID card.

Are you in the new system?

  • NEW ID cards distributed on or after June 28, 2017 are formatted to work in the new system.
  • EXISTING ID cards from last year, or earlier, that were encoded at the Western Card Office on or after June 28, 2017 have been reformatted to work in the new system.


If you have not yet visited the Western Card Office this Summer or Fall to have your ID card reformatted, please do so, it will be the last time!


What's New?

  • The reformatted Western ID will work as a bus pass, from year to year (no encoding necessary) for any quarter the Transportation Fee is on the student account.
  • The ID becomes an Active bus pass when the Transportation Fee is applied to the student account, any time during intersession or the quarter, and remains Active if the Transportation Fee is applied every quarter.

What's the same?

  • Students must be eligible for a bus pass, and have the Transportation Fee on their student account to have a working bus pass. (see details below)
  • The ID card is swiped through the fare box on the bus when boarding.
  • The Western Card Office is available for students needing over-the-counter assistance with their bus pass.


About the Transportation Fee

  • Students taking 6 or more credits have a quarterly Transportation Fee placed on their student account with registration, along with other univesity fees and tuition.

Credits from Extended Ed, Online courses, Independent Study and Study Abroad are not used to assess university fees, so, if you are registered for these credits, you may have more than 6 credits overall, but may not have been assessed the university fees (including the Transportation Fee)

  • If you are registered for fewer than 6 credits, or the Transportation Fee has not been applied to your account with registration, contact the Transportation office at the beginning of the quarter to request the Fee be placed on your account:
  • (include your Western ID number)
  • The Western Card Office can also provide over-the-counter assistance to students who wish to add the Transportation Fee to their account.


More about the Fee:

University Fees that are placed automatically for any quarter with registration, are also removed automatically if a student drops below 6 credits for that quarter.

TIP: Students who register for 6 or more credits for any quarter and have an Active bus pass, then drop below 6 credits, must request the Transportation Fee be added to their account to keep their bus pass Active. Students in this group are sent a warning email the second week of the quarter. They can reply to the email or visit the Western Card Office and complete an "opt-in" form to keep their bus pass Active.


If your ID card does not work on the bus and you think it should,

Email Student Transportation, (include your Western ID number), or go to the Western Card Office for assistance.



Student Transportation



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Page Updated 11.27.2017