By Jenna Dennison
The Associated Students of Whatcom Community College are proposing an initiative that would provide Whatcom Community College students with quarterly WTA bus passes.
Currently, Whatcom students have the option to purchase quarterly bus passes at the bookstore for $40, but the proposed plan would have all students pay a $20 per quarter fee for a bus pass connected to their Orca card. This is the second time this plan has been proposed at Whatcom by Student Life, as an earlier proposal was released in winter quarter of 2015.
There have been several Senate meetings regarding the issue, as well as a survey that was sent out to all Whatcom students via email to determine the level of support the student body had for the bus pass initiative.
The survey found that 34.5 percent of students use the bus, but 50 percent use modes of private transportation. However, 74.78 percent of the students surveyed support the bus pass addition to the Orca card.
Aldo Suseno, the ASWCC President, said “Nothing is official yet. We still have to connect back with the WTA folks and connect back with the administration, but the trend seems supportive.”
The ASWCC also anticipates that the addition of a bus pass will bring changes to Whatcom’s campus and Whatcom County. “It will definitely help Whatcom support sustainability efforts, especially in Whatcom County,” said Suseno. “If you look at the number again, 50 percent of students use private transportation, and if we shift from that to the bus it will definitely reduce our carbon footprint and hopefully solve the parking lot issues.”
Francisco Madrigal, a Whatcom student who rides the bus frequently, said the new proposal was “better than forking out $40. It’d be easier, and we’d be using less plastic.”
Some Whatcom students, however, feel differently about the proposal. Grace Neale, a student at Whatcom, said she would likely not support the initiative.
“I drive. I would for sure have to see how many drive versus ride the bus. If more people drove, probably not.”
Zoe Chan, a Whatcom student who rides the bus, said she thought the proposal was “not fair” to all students, since not every student would be using the service, yet they would be paying for it.
In order for the initiative to be approved, Whatcom’s Board of Trustees must approve the initiative before the changes to the Orca cards are implemented. If approved, the bus pass would be added by winter quarter of 2017.
Students can still participate in the bus pass survey, which was sent to students’ email accounts.