Shuttle service will change to hourly stops

PULLMAN – Under a new contract, the Wheatland Express shuttle between the University of Idaho and Washington State University will provide hourly service from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday through the academic year.

The service is free to WSU and UI students and is designed to serve students enrolled in cross-listed courses.  Commuters may also continue to use the shuttle service during the academic year. 

Because of rising costs, the frequency of the service is being cut back from every half hour to hourly. Service during the summer will be discontinued.

The new contract between the UI and Wheatland begins Aug. 18. WSU has an agreement with the UI to split the cost of the service equally.  Wheatland Express was the only bidder when the UI requested bids for the service. The cost of maintaining the current service level would have increased $150,000 over the existing $224,000 contract price.

Based on this significantly higher bid price, the decision was made to accept the offered lower level of service as it would still accomplish the program’s original purpose, i.e., to provide transportation for students enrolled in cross-listed courses.

Ticket books for 40 rides will continue to be available for purchase from either WSU or UI for $40.  The discounted tickets are available to individual faculty and staff or to university departments who wish to provide rides to faculty or staff involved in cross-listed courses or other university-related activities. The $1 per ride rate is less than the $2 fare box rate.

Riders can link to the Wheatland Express in Pullman by using Pullman Transit, and in Moscow by using Valley Transit. Off-campus bus stops for Wheatland Express will be eliminated in Moscow and Pullman under the new contract. 

Ridership growth on the intercampus shuttle has been relatively flat from year to year. There has been a drop in commuter ridership since a subsidized fare was established for employees in November 2007.

Ridesharing and vanpooling opportunities are available to university employees who are unable for whatever reason to use the intercampus shuttle service. Transferable parking permits are available from both campuses to facilitate carpools and reciprocal parking policies are still in effect.

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