Big changes are underway this month for Western's night shuttle and Whatcom Transit Authority buses.
Instead of stopping on Humboldt and Potter Streets, Western's Night Shuttle now continues straight down Lakeway Drive to Holly Street. The change to the route is very small, sustainable transportation coordinator Carol Berry said. Records from last quarter show that fewer students boarded the shuttle at Humboldt and Potter than at any other stop last quarter. Berry added that students who live in the York Neighborhood can still catch the shuttle on Lakeway.
“The service is still good in the neighborhood,” Berry said.
WTA is also working to increase service to Western. Starting Jan. 20, Route 95 will travel from Sehome Village up Bill McDonald Parkway to South Campus, making stops three times per hour at the Wade King Student Recreation Center, Birnam Wood, and on the corner of 32nd Street and Fielding Avenue. Currently, there is only one bus per hour that takes students from 32nd Street to campus, WTA director of service development Rick Nicholson said.
“We're adding more capacity on Bill McDonald parkway, which is going to make it less crowded for those students who are packed like sardines right now,” Nicholson said.
Also starting Jan. 20, the new Plum Line will stop every 15 minutes on Lakeway Drive between Downtown and Woburn Street. The Plum Line consists of routes 512, 525, 540, and 541, Nicholson said.
“We know [Western has] about 90 employees living in Sudden Valley,” Berry said. “Before this, they had to transfer at Whatcom Falls Park, and then transfer again Downtown, and then come up to Western.”
Now, the Plum Line provides one bus straight from Sudden Valley to downtown, Berry said.
The Plum Line will also make travel to downtown more convenient for people living on Electric Avenue and Woburn Street, Nicholson said.
“Right now, if there's a student who lives on Electric, they have to hoof it to Lakeway if they want to catch a bus,” Nicholson said. When the Plum Line starts operating, route 525 will provide more frequent and direct service between Electric Avenue and downtown, he said.
In addition to the Plum Line, the Gold Line will be expanded to provide service between Downtown, Alabama Street, Woburn Street, Barkley Village, Sunset Square and Bellis Fair Mall every 15 minutes, Nicholson said.
WTA will also be providing more evening service to the York Neighborhood. Routes 96 and 97 will travel in opposite directions through campus, Downtown, Humboldt Street, Lincoln Street, and Bill McDonald Parkway, with stops every hour until 7:35 p.m. on Sundays and until 10:35 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays.
There are also two additional WTA buses that leave the Greyhound/Amtrak station in Fairhaven on Sunday evenings at 8:45 and 9:25. The buses follow route 105 up Bill McDonald Parkway to Western and downtown to Bellingham Station.