About Transportation Services

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About Transportation Services




We provide innovative and sustainable transportation solutions that facilitate the education, research, cultural, and service missions of the University.


Guiding Principles

Guiding Principle #1“Nothing is really free”

Even if it appears free, the cost is being pushed somewhere. In addition, when a resource is offered as “free,” it increases the likelihood of resource misuse. For example, if the University were to offer free parking for everyone, it would likely result in lower use of public transportation and a higher carbon footprint for the institution. In addition, it would mean students are subsidizing (through their tuition) the cost of parking for faculty and staff.

Guiding Principle #2“There is always a trade-off in every decision”

In the case of parking, we can adopt a cheap and convenient philosophy, but then there will never be enough parking supply. Alternatively, we can create convenient and plentiful parking, but then it will not be cheap. On the other hand, we can have cheap and enough parking, but it will not be very convenient.

Guiding Principle #3“Market Rates define the point of equilibrium”

It is important in managing our limited parking resources (i.e. parking stalls) that we create a balance between supply and demand. If we do not charge market rates for parking, then we are effectively subsidizing parking costs with tuition dollars and the flow of supply will never be such that parking availability matches (as closely as possible) with demand. 


What about Transportation Services...

Why do we exist?

UWT’s Transportation Services (TS) promotes sustainable commute options, while recognizing students, faculty and staff need flexibility in their transportation modes.  Our mission is to provide options for all users, while striving to move our transportation behavior toward a sustainable model; reducing our collective impact on the environment. We do this by educating and incentivizing the use of mass transit through the U-PASS, supporting area carpool programs and ensuring parking rates are within acceptable market levels.

What are we doing to improve access economically and environmentally sustainable?

By reducing the use of Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) trips to/from campus, we will have a positive impact on our environment, by reducing the campus’ carbon footprint in accordance with the University’s Climate Action Plan.  In addition, by increasing the use of mass transit options, it enables UWT to reduce having to invest in additional parking facilities, which are costly and reduce the university’s ability to invest in needed academic programs.

Why is parking not free?

The goal of UW Tacoma’s parking program is to be fiscally self-sustaining and not adversely affect our campus operating budget.  By setting parking rates that are reflective of the local market, we can manage parking effectively and maintain our facilities in good condition.  This avoids needless backlog of deferred maintenance and one-time capital costs that can be financially draining on campus reserves.

It also allows us to plan and fund for expansion of parking and other associated transportation systems (e.g. EV charging stations) critical in supporting the transportation needs of campus.

As a growing urban serving university, in the heart of downtown Tacoma, we realize parking can be tight at times. Transportation Services plans to accommodate growth by getting more commuters to utilize alternative transportation modes, as well as set aside funds for capital projects to include adding additional surface parking facilities.

What is UW Tacoma's current commute mode split?

To measure UW Tacoma's progress, Transportation Services surveys the campus every year to measure the campus Drive Alone rate and the percetage of sustainable commutes. In 2016, the survey results showed a  70 percent drive alone rate; the 2018 Student UPASS showed a 50 percent rating with the other 50 being sustainable commutes.

City of Tacoma Parking

Who controls on-street parking?

On-street parking is public right of way that is managed by the City of Tacoma. The city’s priority user for on-street parking is the customer, client, and visitor; to ensure these users find parking availability the city implements pricing and regulations.

Overarching direction on street parking is under the auspices of the Parking Transportation Advisory Group (PTAG) for the City of Tacoma.  PTAG reviews current parking policies and how they impact current stakeholders and periodically makes recommendations to the City Manager regarding needed changes for existing policies or establishing new policies needed to ensure that the parking system adheres to the adopted guiding principles. 

For more on PTAG click the link.

Why is parking limited to 90 minutes around campus?

Parking is limited to 90-minutes along Pacific Ave and Market Streets in order to accommodate the transient flow of retail shoppers as well as visitors to the UW-YMCA.  This encourages turnover of parking in these areas, allowing a supply of parking for visitors to UWT.  

Will parking always be free up the hill from campus?

Driving around looking for parking is not only unsustainable, but adds to the campuses carbon footprint and can also be frustrating. As the University and Brewery district continue to grow as a vibrant destinations, on-street parking will need to shift in order to support the overall growth of the area. UW Tacoma Transportation Services member sits on the City of Tacoma Parking Technical Advisory Group (PTAG) to create future regulations and policies to manage the on-street parking inventory efficiently to account for the amount of demand. To encourage turnover and reduce students, faculty, and staff hunting for parking, PTAG is recommending the implementation of a 3 hour limit starting Fall 2019.

As the campus continues to grow, time restrictions alone, won't be enough to encourage turnover and create availability. We know that hunting for parking isn't only frustrating, but it also adds to the campuses carbon footprint. UW Tacoma will continue to work with PTAG on implementing policies and pricing to ensure the most efficient use of on-street parking supply and create availability. Transportation Services will also continue to incentivize alternative tranportation options, pushing the campus sustainable commute rate and reducing the amount of commuters driving alone.

Frustrated about driving around looking for a place to park?

Purchase a Tacoma Dome Lot A permit using the online purchasing tool, simply park and walk two blocks and catch the Tacoma link (which is free) arriving on campus in less than 5 minutes.

What services does Tranportation Services provide?


The U-PASS is the university’s mass transit program that all currently registered students are enrolled.  When you sign-up (faculty/staff) are eligible to sign up for U-PASS. Husky ID card is activated and can be used as an unlimited transit pass.  The program is powered by ORCA, which stands for One Regional Card for All, which is the Puget Sound’s regional transit fare payment system.

This allows a U-PASS user to ride any mode of mass transit, from bus, Sounder, and the Link (excluding the Washington State Ferry system).  It is not just a pass for commuting to campus, but much, much more!  Think about it…..no more hunting for parking at UWT or when you go to Seattle to shop (and paying over $20 to park!).  Take the bus, the Sounder, or Link Light rail and sit back, relax, or read a book (ok for students jump on Instagram).

UPASS benefits

Holders of the faculty/staff U-PASS additionally have access to:

Emergency Ride Home program

How do I get a U-PASS?

Husky ID's are usually issued during orientation. All current students, faculty and staff can get their Husky Card issued from the Office of the Registrar in Mattress Factory 253. Husky Cards must be picked up in person; they cannot be mailed. Once issued the U-PASS function should be active within 24-48 hours.

Why is the U-PASS a universal benefit?

In effort to continue to promote and incentivize alternative transportation, TS worked with students on approval of a Universal U-PASS program. TS is a self-sustaining program that provides alternative transportation options and therefore must not rely on campus funding. Over the course of the past five years, transit fares and ridership have continually increased causing escalating U-PASS expenses, yet the fee has remained unchanged. To ensure revenue sufficiency for the program, students were asked if they supported a mandatory fee, applied to all students, in order to keep the cost of the U-PASS per student at $45.00 per quarter. UW Tacoma students were surveyed if they supported a shift from an opt-in to universal program,, and the results were a resounding 67 percent approval rating!

While we realize note all students will choose to use mass transit to commute to campus, we hope students will use this benefit for commuting outside of campus, such as to Seattle, UW football game, etc.  Or to even try commuting via bus 1 day a week, even that little bit helps us to manage a limited resource in campus parking as well as reduce our impact on the environment.

As the program is implemented, more students will utilize public transportation and shift the campus commute mode to more sustainable options and have a direct impact as fewer students will choose to park on and around campus. It is through incentives and programs like this that TS strives to shift the campus’s commute mode split to more sustainable options.

For more information please visit Student U-PASS website.

Parking Permits

Transportation Services sells quarterly permits for students 3 weeks prior to the start of the quarter. Faculty and staff can request annual and 9 Month permits in September for the academic year, opt-in for auto renewal so you don’t have to remember to sign up next year. All quarter permits for students are sold through our online purchasing tool and permits are mailed out prior to the start of the quarter.

How do I obtain a permit?

Permit sales for students open 3 weeks prior to the start of the quarter using the online purchasing tool, permits are mailed out prior to the start of the quarter. All permits are sold online.

Faculty and staff can request annual and 9 Month permits in September for the academic year, opt-in for auto renewal so you don’t have to remember to sign up next year.

Why are certain lots permit parking only?

To ensure UW Tacoma parking facilities are used for university use during peak times, Transportation Services implemented permit parking only. This creates an avenue that Transportation Services can manage parking capacity instead of letting parking filling up without permit holders having a place to park. To purchase permit you must be affiliated with the university. If the parking lots and garage wasn't permit parking only it would fill up with daily parkers from the adjacent construction project or events nearby.

Hourly Parking

Cragle and Pinkerton are the closest UW Tacoma parking facilities and adjacent to retail. The 3 hour limit is meant to encourage turnover to create availability for visitors to park, while still long enough to be used for a class schedule.

What lots have hourly parking and how long can I park?

Cragle, Tioga, and Pinkerton parking have hourly and daily parking options. Cragle and Pinkerton both have a 3 hour limit.

Parking Fines

There cannot be rules without enforcement. We strictly enforce all parking rules and regulations to ensure a fair and equitable parking system for all stakeholders.

Other FAQ's

How does the University maintain and manage parking areas

UW Tacoma Transportation Services strives to provide welcoming parking facilities as well as safety in between those parking facilities and campus. If you run into any areas that are concerning or without sufficient light please contact us at P: 253.692.5660 E: transit@uw.edu or submit a work order to Facilities Services. If there's a safety concern call Campus Safety P: 253.692.4416. If it’s an emergency, call 911

Dead Battery? Flat Tire? Locked out?

The Diamond Parking We Care program is available to customers using any of the following lots:  Tioga (WT31), Whitney (WT32), and Laborer’s  (WT44). Just call Bill’s Towing 253.272.9393. Republic Parking NW offers the Five Star program in Cragle, Pinkerton, and the Court 17 garage. The Five Star program offer customers help with dead batteries, flat tires, locked cars, and even cars out of gas.  Just call Burn’s Towing at 253-472-4496 and identify yourself as Five Star program customer.

The Five Star program is currently NOT AVAILABLE in these facilities that are not owned or managed by UW Tacoma: Vision Deuce Lot, the Convention Center garage, or the Museum of Glass garage.

Does the university provide any security escort services?

Campus Safety provides safety escorts to and from vehicle parked within proximity to campus. Just call Campus Safety 253.692.4416.