WWU’s late-night shuttle to extend route through Happy Valley

The Western Student Shuttle could permanently make stops in the Happy Valley Neighborhood after the university tests an extended route during winter quarter.

In September, Associated Students vice president Zach Dugovich, along with representatives from the student transportation program, met with Happy Valley homeowners who voiced concerns about noisy students frequently walking through the neighborhood late at night.

The shuttle is a late-night service for Western Washington University students that runs throughout the school year. It is not affiliated with Whatcom Transportation Authority.

The Happy Valley residents agreed on a proposed route in which the shuttle would travel south on 21st Street, east on Donovan Avenue and north on 32nd Street toward downtown, making stops at all WTA bus stops.

The shuttle currently does not include stops in Happy Valley despite the area’s high student population. The new route would help get more students home safely, Dugovich said, and could also help prevent crime in the area.

Kay McMurren, WWU program support supervisor for student transportation, said they are still fine-tuning what the rest of the route will look like. She said they will meet with shuttle drivers to hear their feedback.

“One thing we wanted to do was provide the Happy Valley service without diminishing other services,” McMurren said. “It’s challenging because at the same time we aren’t adding an extra route and we aren’t adding extra drivers.”

She said comment cards will be provided on the shuttle so students can provide further feedback. Although she expects the route to be tweaked, she believes a route through Happy Valley will continue permanently following the pilot that runs through all of winter quarter, which starts Jan. 6.

“If there’s no reason to put on the brakes, it will probably just carry through from that point forward,” McMurren said.