Active Transportation Fee

An Alternative Transportation Fee was implemented in 2007 after a favorable vote of the student body and approval by the A.S. Board and the WWU Board of Trustees. Since then students have voted every five years to approve the Fee. The purpose of the Fee is to support a transportation program for the benefit of students. In 2022, the fee was renamed the Active Transportation Fee to better reflect the mission of the programs it supports.

The $30 Fee provides students with the following benefits*:

  • A Whatcom Transit Authority and Skagit Transit student bus pass
  • Starlight Shuttle service
  • Help with trip planning
  • An Active Transportation Coordinator student position
  • The fee is reduced to $24.50 for summer quarter when the Starlight Shuttle is not operating

*Students who are 18 and under can ride all public transit for free in Washington State. Due to this they are charged a $3 Active Transportation Fee during the academic year and summer quarter. Students who turn 19 during a quarter will be charged the full Fee the next time they register for classes.

Where does the money go?

Pie chart of Where does the money go?
  • 75% WTA Payments
  • 15% Starlight Shuttle
  • 10% Other

Note: "Other" expenses include salaries and administrative costs. 

Program Oversight

Program funds are overseen by the AS Transportation Advisory Committee which is comprised of a majority of students (AS Officers, Active Transportation Coordinator, students-at-large) and WWU administrative staff.

Who is assessed the fee?

WWU students taking six or more credits are assessed a mandatory Active Transportation Fee. The fee is applied quarterly with other university fees and tuition. Students taking 1-5 credits, graduate students, and students who are employed on campus during the summer may opt-in to the fee and get a bus pass.

Refund Policy

Fees placed automatically with registration are not refundable. A transportation fee placed manually by the Transportation or Western Card office is refundable if requested within 1 week of the first day of class, or 1 week of the original request, whichever is later.

Active Transportation Fee Language

The referendum language is as follows:

Shall all Western Washington University students taking six or more credits on the Bellingham Campus be assessed an Active Transportation Fee (ATF) of $30.00 per quarter with the following minimum conditions?

  • The fee will fund:
    • A Whatcom Transportation Authority bus pass for every Active Transportation Fee-paying student. Bus passes for additional transit systems such as Skagit Transit may also be provided to increase access to and use of active transportation.
    • A late-night student transportation service for students that begins running when WTA service ends or before. At a minimum this would serve the general campus area.
    • Programming that supports and encourages students to not drive alone to Western. This can include transportation modes like transit, carpooling, car share, walking, and rolling (bicycles, skateboards, scooters, etc.).
    • Staff positions to coordinate and promote active transportation programming and services for students. At the very least, staff will include an Active Transportation Coordinator, which is a student position, and a full-time staff member.
  • If late night service is not offered during summer quarter, students taking summer quarter classes will be charged a reduced fee of $24.50 reflecting the costs of a WTA bus pass program, staff, and ongoing programs.
  • Fee increases will be limited to a maximum of 5% per year. Increases of more than 5% must be approved by the student body through a vote. The fee may only be increased by recommendation of the ATF committee after an assessment of predicted income and expenses determines that a fee increase is necessary for sustaining or improving service. The fee increase must also be approved by the Associated Students Executive Board.
  • On the recommendation of the ATF Committee, fee decreases of any amount may be approved by the Associated Students Executive Board to reflect decreased program costs or due to University, State, or Federal requirements preventing or reducing transit or late-night transportation services.
  • The fee will be implemented for a maximum 5-year term, beginning fall quarter 2022, and ending at the beginning of fall quarter 2027, and is subject to a student vote in spring 2027 for renewal.