Frequently Asked Questions

What's a U-PASS?

Who can purchase a U-PASS at UW Tacoma?

The U-PASS is available to all permanent employees and currently enrolled students. Note for summer quarter — you must be enrolled for summer quarter in order to be eligible for the student U-PASS. Employee U-PASSes are for permanent (not hourly/student appointments) employees only. Contact your local transit agency in order to purchase a transit pass directly through them for over the summer quarter, if those situations do not apply to you.

Where can I get a U-PASS?

Employees can order a U-PASS online here.

Students must sign up for a U-PASS online through MyUW when registering for classes each quarter. After the 7th day of the quarter you must order your U-PASS via the online student U-PASS order form. Learn more about signing up for the U-PASS.

Does U-PASS work on transit service between Tacoma and Olympia?

Currently, Intercity Transit does not accept the U-PASS on any of their transit services.  However, if there are any routes from that service area that are operated by Pierce Transit, Pierce Transit will accept your U-PASS as full fare. Just be aware of what routes you are looking at, prior to purchase, to determine if your U-PASS will be accepted.

Is a UW Tacoma U-PASS the same as a UW Seattle U-PASS?

No. All three UW campuses offer the U-PASS program and while they share similar characteristics — such as full bus fare for participants on six regional transit agencies, Sounder commuter rail and Link Light Rail — they are not identical. Each campus has different ways to fund their U-PASS program. Since each campus has unique needs and resources, the programming and price of the U-PASS varies. This is why you may see different U-PASS prices and benefits at each campus.

Is the U-PASS part of ORCA?

One Regional Card for All (ORCA) is a collaborative regional fare system involving seven Western Washington public transportation agencies – Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro Transit, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit and Washington State Ferries. ORCA cards utilize smart card technology and serve as a single payment mechanism for participating agencies.

Smart cards contain an embedded microchip processor that communicates with card reader equipment. The card uses no-contact technology, so a user only needs to bring it within a few inches of a reader for it to work.

The UW has now transitioned all of its Husky Cards to smart card technology and the U-PASS is now part of the ORCA system. More information on the ORCA transition at UW Tacoma.

What’s the best way for me to get to UW Tacoma?

There are several factors that will help guide your decision in how to get to UW Tacoma. The time of day that you need to be here, where you live, cost, etc., all play an important role in your decision. Our advice would be to try out different options (bus, train, drive & park, etc.) several weeks in advance from when you need to be here, if possible. Check out the Trip Planner to see if there are any bus routes located near your home. Talk with fellow students, staff and or faculty to find out how they get here, and how they make it work for them. One crucial piece of advice is to give yourself plenty of time when getting here for the first time, don’t wait until your first day to figure it out, as you’ll already be stressed about classes, work, etc. Take a trial run on a slower day, such as during the weekend. If you still need help figuring out your commute options, employees can contact the Employee Transportation Coordinator, James Sinding, at jamess7@uw.edu, or for students, the Student Transportation Senator at asuwts8@uw.edu who would be happy to help you!

Where should I park?

One of the best ways to figure out where to park is to look at your class schedule or work location (if an employee). See if you can park the closest to those places. If you’re willing to walk (and get some exercise!), check out the many locations located near the campus but a walking distance away. Another factor that determines where to park is the cost. Generally speaking, the closer you are to campus, the more you are going to pay. Check out our parking section for more information. Also, always be aware of your surroundings and use common sense in terms of safety and your belongings. Have parking questions? Email our parking program at uwtpark@uw.edu.

Is it safe to park here?

Yes, but it is important to remember that campus lots are open. The campus has no special protection against vehicle crimes. Campus Safety officers patrol the parking lots and streets as a proactive measure and deterrent. Tacoma police also make occasional patrols through the campus and surrounding areas. The best defense against a vehicle break in is to make your car as unattractive as possible to thieves either with an alarm or an anti-theft device such as a steering wheel lock. Also, don't leave anything of value visible in an unoccupied car.

UW Tacoma offers Safety Escorts that will walk you to your car (if it is parked on campus).

Where and how can I get a parking permit?

How can I pay for a parking citation?

How can I appeal a parking citation?

See above information, and here’s the link to the online parking citation appeal form.

How can I find out what bus to take to get to UW Tacoma?

Take advantage of Pierce Transit’s Trip Planner, which gives you detailed bus route information to/from UW Tacoma. Be sure to enter your destination as UW Tacoma. We also recommend to doing a “trial run” prior to your first time taking the bus to UW Tacoma (and ideally before your classes start). That way you can work out the kinks and figure out how it worked for you before your first day.

Does UW Tacoma offer designated carpool or vanpool parking?

At this time, we do not offer designated parking for carpoolers or vanpoolers. We hope to be able to offer this in the future. One idea to keep carpooling while also enjoying economical and environmental benefits is to carpool with a fellow student or employee, and just one of you purchases a parking permit. Split the cost internally between the two of you, and whomever drives, places that permit on their car’s dashboard! This works because the permits are not tied to the car, so carpool and save money as you wish! Be sure that you are using a current parking permit and park in the designated area for that permit.

Is there free parking at UW Tacoma?

UW Tacoma is an urban campus located in the heart of downtown Tacoma. Because of our location there is a high demand for parking and as such there are few opportunities for free parking. UW Tacoma offers parking permits for parking lots around campus and information on how to obtain a permit can be found here. Most street parking around campus is metered at 75 cents per hour with a maximum time limit of two hours. Those areas not metered generally have 90-minute maximum parking restrictions. The city heavily enforces these restrictions and any infractions will need to be addressed directly with the city.