Getting around Monmouth – and the Willamette Valley

Brenda Flores

Feeling like you’re stuck at your house or dorm on campus if you don’t have a car? Getting around town and to further locations may not be as difficult to get to as you may have thought. Western Oregon University has some great options for getting from point A to point B that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Wolf Ride

Side view of Wolf Ride Van

Wolf Ride is WOU’s cost-free “Safe Ride” program that runs daily from 5 p.m. to midnight. If you’re needing a ride to a restaurant, the Independence movie theater, a friend’s house in Monmouth or Independence, Waremart, or another location near by, pick up the phone and dial 503-428-7238 for this first come, first serve assistance. There are also certain points in the term that Wolf Ride offers longer trips to Salem or larger cities, and students can also visit the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs in the WUC, room 203, to turn in a request form to be given a ride to a further location on a specific date. Hours of operation may change on holidays, the Wolf Ride van is also equipped with a wheelchair lift for added accessibility. 

CARTS are small-scale buses that stop through Monmouth multiple times a day. Operated by the company Cherriots in Salem, this transportation option has routes that go all over surrounding areas like Dallas, Rickreall, Salem, Woodburn, Mount Angel, Silverton, Stayton, and more. Those serviced can buy two options: a single pass, or a day pass, once they’ve entered the bus. The CARTS’ website has tons of resources for prospective riders, such as maps, disability service requests, medical transportation, a “Plan Your Trip” tool, and additional information on how to ride.

WOU offers a few cars right on campus that students can rent for a short period of time. They’re located near Ackerman and the WUC in lot H. The first action for students wanting to use these cars would be to visit in order to fill out their information and apply (people under the age of 18 and those who have received excessive amounts of tickets may not be accepted). This task may seem daunting, but it is a one-time necessity that sets you up for smooth sailing for the rest of the process. Once online, you can see the cars’ availability and reserve the amount of time you’re needing them. It will then charge you a flat rate per hour ($4.95), plus a small fee per mile driven ($0.49). Online you’ll get a punch code that allows you to get into the car, and from there you’re free to drive up to 180 miles. These cars are completely insured, reliable, and come with a gas card that you don’t have to pay for. 

Greyhound Bus
After getting a ride or taking CARTS to Salem, students have the option of using the Greyhound bus to get to further locations. The station at 500 13th St SE, Salem offers trips all days of the week to cities both near and far. A jaunt over to Portland runs at about $12 while a further trip to Seattle runs around $31.  Greyhound offers disability services, promotions, discount deals, and much more. 

So the next time you’re planning a trip, close by or even out of state, don’t sweat trying to find a friend’s car to borrow or calling for a taxi. Western Oregon University and the city of Monmouth offer more transportation options than you might have thought.

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