Getting Around Bellingham

At Western, we strongly encourage everybody to use alternatives to driving alone to campus. Most places that students go in Bellingham are a short walk, bike ride, or bus trip away.

Transportation Services:

  • coordinates bus passes and late-night transportation services for students and provides bicycling support and education, commute trip reduction information, and trip planning assistance.
  • manages all operations and services related to parking on campus and is involved in campus transportation planning.  

Transportation Services: Old Main 120,,

Transportation Options

All students have access to a Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) bus pass on their Western ID cards. WTA buses serve Western with many convenient bus routes that run every 15 minutes during peak travel times. Bus routes serving Western connect with other routes at the Downtown Bellingham Transit Station. WTA routes allow easy access to additional regional transportation options such as Amtrak, Greyhound, Bellingham Airport, Bellair Airporter Shuttle, Skagit County Transit, and local Washington ferry routes. Students can travel on all the bus routes in Skagit County, Whatcom County, and from Bellingham to Everett at no additional charge using their Western bus pass.

The Starlight Shuttle provides Western students a ride after the WTA buses stop running for the day. It is funded through the Active Transportation Fee and students do not pay an additional fare when riding the shuttle. The service is on-demand meaning it will pick you up where you are and take you where you want to go. Service is available in a geofenced area that is approximately a five mile radius around campus. Students must show a valid Western ID card to the driver when using the Starlight Shuttle. 

Hours of operation and how to ride: 

Western is a silver level Bicycle Friendly University, and Bellingham has many bicycling routes that make it easy, safe, and pleasant to travel by bike. There is plentiful bike parking on campus and much of it is covered. Bike lockers are also available for rent from Transportation Services. All WTA buses have bike racks on them which extends the range of travel by bike. Our website has maps and helpful bicycling tips and we will gladly assist you with all your bicycling needs. Additionally, the Associated Students Outdoor Center provides inexpensive bike repair, parts, and rentals.

Parking on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods is extremely limited and parking regulations are strictly enforced. A valid WWU parking permit is required to park in all Western parking lots.

We recommend that students avoid bringing a car to campus. There are only 2,347 student parking spaces on campus for Western’s approximate 15,000 students, so most students will not receive a parking permit.  There are 720 parking spaces for resident students, 1117 parking spaces for commuting students, and 510 of additional student parking spaces off-campus.

A valid WWU parking permit is required to park in all Western parking lots. Parking permits are awarded through a waitlist system based on accumulated credit hours earned at Western. New students with low or no credit hours will most likely not qualify for an on-campus parking permit. WWU operates an off-campus parking lot, Lincoln Creek, which is approximately a 10-12 minute bus ride from campus.

Parking permits are associated with a specific license plate, and provides permission to park in a specific lot, but does not guarantee drivers a parking space.

The Bellingham campus and surrounding neighborhoods are very walkable. We invite you to do some exploring on foot. Most off-campus housing is within a 15 minute walk of campus. Combining walking with the bus can get you almost everywhere you need to go in Bellingham.

This quarterly fee funds student transportation programs such as the student WTA bus pass and the Starlight Shuttle. 

Transportation Services can help with regional transit options, trip plans, directions, and recommended routes to and from WWU and local airports, train stations, bus stations and ferry terminals.