Whatcom Transportation Authority

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Whatcom Transportation Authority
Whatcom Transportation Authority logo.svg
Commenced operation January 1, 1984 (1984-01-01)
Headquarters 4111 Bakerview Spur, BellinghamCoordinates: 48°47′12.5″N 122°26′56″W / 48.786806°N 122.44889°W / 48.786806; -122.44889
Locale Whatcom County, Washington
Service type bus service, paratransit, vanpool
Routes 31
Fleet 60 buses, 38 paratransit vehicles, 38 vans
Annual ridership 5,242,852 (2014)[1]
Website ridewta.com

The Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) is the public transit authority of Whatcom County in northwestern Washington, based in the city of Bellingham. It provides bus service on 31 fixed routes, including branded "GO Lines" with 15-minute frequencies on weekdays, to cities in its service area. In addition to bus service, the WTA offers paratransit service and a vanpool programs.

The WTA is funded by a 0.6% sales tax within the Whatcom County public transportation benefit area (PTBA) and grants from the state and federal governments. Service began on January 1, 1984, using equipment bought from the Bellingham municipal transit system after a countywide authority was established a year earlier. The WTA carried 5 million total riders on fixed bus routes in 2014, averaging out to 17,000 weekday boardings.[1][2]


The Whatcom Transportation Authority was created in 1983 and service in western Whatcom County, including the cities of Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden, began on January 1, 1984. The city of Bellingham began operating its own municipal transit system in 1971 by taking over a failing private operator, funding it with a 0.3% sales tax within the city beginning in 1975. The system was absorbed into the new countywide public transportation benefit area, which adopted the same sales tax rate in 1983.[3]


Bus routes[edit]

GO Lines[edit]

The "GO Lines" are four corridors where local service combines for 15-minute headways on weekdays and are branded with a specific color by the WTA beginning in 2005.[4]

A fifth GO Line, the Red Line from Bellingham Station to the Fairhaven Transportation Center, was removed in March 2017.[8]

County Connector[edit]

WTA Route 80X, known as the County Connector, is an inter-county route operated by the WTA and Skagit Transit that makes 8 daily roundtrips on weekdays and 4 daily roundtrips on Saturdays between Bellingham Station and the Skagit Transportation Center in Mount Vernon, with intermediate stops at park and rides along Interstate 5. There is also a shuttle bus that connects Route 80X to Western Washington University with 2 weekday roundtrips.[9][10]

Paratransit and vanpools[edit]


The WTA operates a fleet of 60 full-size buses, 38 paratransit vehicles, and 38 vanpool vans.[11]

Current Bus Fleet[edit]

As of December 31, 2013[11]
and model
Image Year Fleet Numbers Notes
Orion V 1995 840–842
1997 844–846
Gillig Low Floor 2004 864–866
2007 826–827
2007 851–855
2008 867–869
2009 856–859
2009 871–880
2010 809–719
2010 828–830
2010 881–886
2011 887–894
2012 801–808 Diesel-electric hybrid bus


  1. ^ a b 2014 Service Performance Report (PDF) (Report). Whatcom Transportation Authority. 2015. Retrieved September 6, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Agency Description". Whatcom Transportation Authority. 2014. Archived from the original on July 14, 2015. Retrieved September 6, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Local Transit Statewide". Public Transportation in Washington State (PDF) (Report). Washington State Department of Transportation. December 1988. pp. 102–105. Retrieved July 13, 2015. 
  4. ^ "The GO Lines". Whatcom Transportation Authority. Retrieved June 20, 2017. 
  5. ^ Paben, Jared (January 30, 2008). "Campus passes boost WTA bus ridership". Bellingham Herald. Retrieved July 6, 2016. 
  6. ^ "WTA to Hold Public Hearing on REVISED Service Reduction Proposal". Whatcom Transportation Authority. May 2010. Archived from the original on June 22, 2010. Retrieved July 6, 2016. 
  7. ^ "New Service and Changes to Service As of March 19, 2017" (PDF). Whatcom Transportation Authority. March 2017. Retrieved June 20, 2017. 
  8. ^ Mittendorf, Robert (March 8, 2017). "Bus routes, schedules changing – what about the one you ride?". Bellingham herald. Retrieved June 20, 2017. 
  9. ^ "County Connector". Whatcom Transportation Authority. Retrieved September 6, 2015. 
  10. ^ "County Connectors". Skagit Transit. Retrieved July 14, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b "Appendix A: List of Rolling Stock, Facilities and Equipment". Whatcom Transportation Authority 2013 Report and Transit Development Plan 2014 – 2019 (PDF) (Report). Whatcom Transportation Authority. July 10, 2014. pp. 23–30. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 15, 2015. Retrieved September 6, 2015. 

External links[edit]