ASWU plans bus passes for 2018

Increase in student activity fee to fund passes for Whitworth

ASWU is working with Spokane Transit Authority to have bus passes for the Whitworth community by the 2018-2019 academic year.

ASWU is conducting a constituency report to see how many students are in favor of having a bus pass for all, said freshman Alex Mowery, zone representative for Baldwin-Jenkins, Stewart and the Village.  

The survey results will be presented to the board with the proposal for a budget increase, Mowery said. 

Initial data from Baldwin-Jenkins residents indicates the residents overwhelmingly wantthe bus pass system to be implemented, Mowery said.

“The way bus pass work right now is fairly expensive because students get no discount from Spokane Transit,” Mowery said.

 The plan is to add $7 per year to students’ yearly ASWU fees and in turn students will have an unlimited bus pass from Spokane Transit Authority.

Any increase in student fees must be approved by the board and the proposal will be presented to the Board of Trustees next fall.

“[Access to bus passes] includes faculty, student and staff anybody who is part of Whitworth,” Mowery said.

“I ride the bus every day and I would love to have a cheaper access to the bus system,”  ASWU sustainability coordinator senior Whitney Jester said.

Jester attended Wenatchee Valley College before transferring to Whitworth which has a bus pass system in place.

“I was really surprised when I came and found out Whitworth didn’t have the same thing,” Jester said.

Spokane Transit Authority estimates the number of trips and distance each trip will be. Combining those factors with others including bus maintenance and operating costs, Spokane Transit Authority will calculate how much to charge Whitworth, Mowery said.

Bus passes will give students the chance to travel through the greater Spokane community, Mowery said.

“A lot of first-year students don’t have cars,” Mowery said. “A lot off-campus students get to campus easier with the bus pass.”

Freshman Daniel Robertslikes the idea of having a bus pass for the entire school.  

It gives students the opportunity to explore and discover the greater Spokane community without the added stress of money, Roberts said.

The bus makes it easier for students to go to places like Taco Bell instead of waiting for a ride, Mowery said.

“It would be easy to utilize the bus a lot more with that bus pass,” Roberts said.

Jester agrees on the benefits for students.

“A lot of people come into my office to complain about not having enough parking space or the bus fares being expensive,” Jester said.

 More people using the bus instead of individual cars is also eco-friendly, Jester said.  

“We have so many students that just drive by themselves to campus every day and if we can change so that lots of students were riding the same bus to campus every day it would significantly decrease Whitworth’s carbon footprint,” Jester said.

ASWU will work with Student Life and Spokane Transit Authority to educate the Whitworth community about the bus system,Mowery said. 

“Educate people about the benefits of using public transit because for some people it just is not something they do right now or think about doing and then also educate people on best practices for getting around the city using a bus system,” Mowery said.

The culture of using public transport should eventually develop on campus, Mowery said.

Abebaye Asrat Bekele

Staff Writer