Share the Ride: Carpool and Vanpool

Great commuting benefits

Carpooling and vanpooling are great ways to commute to campus. Ride together and you can save money on gas and parking. You’ll also get access to high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lanes and on-ramps for a faster commute. And don’t forget that you can always mix up your commute as needed: bus, bike, walk or drive alone on the days you can’t share the ride.

See all current campus parking and U-PASS rates.


Carpooling is a flexible, cost-saving commute option. You can carpool all the time or occasionally as a supplement to the way you regularly commute.

Quarterly or Annual Carpool Permits

Who can purchase them?

Faculty and staff who commit to carpooling at least three days a week can obtain a quarterly or annual carpool permit. Students may participate in an organized carpool provided at least one member of the carpool group is an active faculty or staff member. An eligible faculty or staff member can be a permanent-status faculty member, Seattle campus employee, an affiliate, a temporary/hourly employee working at least three days a week during the quarter, a re-employed retiree, or an Academic Student Employee (ASE). Harborview employees are not eligible to participate in a permit carpool; please contact Harborview for commuting options.

When can I park?

Carpool permits are usable seven days a week. All carpool participants must carpool inbound to campus at least three days a week.

Where can I park?

Permits are assigned to a lot when they are created. If the lot assigned to your permit is full, you can automatically park in the overflow lot. If your assigned lot does not have an overflow lot, or if the overflow lot is also full, please stop at a campus gatehouse so that the attendant can give you an alternate lot for the day. Carpool permits are valid in load zones for the posted time. Carpool permits are valid in any unrestricted areas after 4 p.m. without stopping at a gatehouse for reassignment.

What does it cost?

Carpool Permits cost $450.00 per quarter, with the charge equally split among participants. Up to three faculty/staff members of a carpool are eligible to receive a free U-PASS. Students who are included in the carpool will not be eligible for the gratis U-PASS under the Universal U-PASS Program.

What else should I know?

  • Please present the vehicle registration at the time of purchase.
  • All outstanding campus parking violations must be paid.
  • UW Seattle employees working off-campus at CTR-affected sites are also eligible for carpool permits, but all members of a carpool must work at the same site (for example, all at UW Seattle campus or all at South Lake Union campus).
  • The designated “head of the carpool” must have a valid driver’s license and own or lease a vehicle. A student cannot be designated “head of the carpool.”
  • Vehicle changes, additions or deletions must be reported to Transportation Services at License plate updates can be submitted online.
  • Carpool Permits are valid during most special events, but, you may be required to park in a different location on the day of the event.
  • Carpool permits are valid in load zones for the posted time.
Carpool guidelines:
  • All carpool members must live more than one mile from campus, see our No Carpool Zone Map or one mile away from their off-campus work site.
  • The group must use a logical commute path and not drive past the campus or work site to pick up members.
  • All carpool participants agree to share the ride a minimum of 3 days per week.
  • Commuting separately: If desired, members may commute separately up to two days per week. The head of the carpool may drive in alone, using the Carpool Permit; other members of the carpool may use their U-PASS to take the bus, or, in the case of faculty and staff, may use Individual Commuter Tickets (ICTs) to park alone. When the head of the carpool is sick or on vacation, he or she may give the permit to other members of the group to use in his/her absence. Improper use of a carpool permit may result in fines and/or disciplinary action.
  • Changes in carpool status including separated or inactive members must be reported to Transportation Services immediately. The permit and associated gratis U-PASSes must be returned if the carpool disbands, even during the time the group may be forming a new carpool. Use of a carpool permit after the carpool has disbanded may result in fines and/or disciplinary action.

You may return your permit to Transportation Services at any time for a refund of future days paid. If you elected payroll deductions as your payment type, and wish to stop deductions, you MUST return the permit to Transportation Services and sign a stop-deduction form.

Any and all complimentary employee U-PASSes assigned under the carpool must be returned at that time in order to cancel the permit. If one member wishes to be removed from the carpool and is unable to retrieve the permit, please contact our office for assistance. All members of the carpool remain responsible for payment of the carpool permit fees until the permit is returned and canceled.

Your refund will be processed in the manner the initial payment was received. If you paid by credit card, you must bring the same card to receive your refund. If you paid by check or with cash, please note that refund amounts in excess of $100 will take 4-6 weeks to process. Husky Card account purchases will be refunded same-day onto your Husky Card. Refunds will ONLY be given to the person who initially paid.

Proper display:

Please hang your permit on the rear-view mirror or display on the driver’s side dashboard fully visible from the exterior of the vehicle, with the area designator facing the windshield.

Daily Carpool Permits

Carpooling is a great way to get to campus. Do you prefer to take things day-by-day? Daily, or “impromptu” carpooling is a flexible way to manage your commute. The U-PASS Daily Carpool Parking Permit makes it easy for UW faculty, staff, and students to share a ride to campus on a daily basis and get all the benefits of carpooling. Purchase a daily carpool parking permit at any gatehouse on the UW Seattle campus.

Effective July 1, 2017, at all UW Seattle campus gatehouses, the new rates for U-PASS daily carpool parking are:

  • $5/day for 3+ person carpools
  • $7.50/day for 2 person carpools

Gatehouses accept cash or credit cards only.

Privileges include:

  • Specific lot and/or space assigned from a UW campus gatehouse
  • Load/unload zones for the posted time limit

UW Carpool Club

As a thank you for UW commuters who share the ride to campus, UW has designated carpool parking spaces in convenient, easy-to-find locations in a few of our most popular lots. UW Carpool Club members can park in these spaces on a first-come, first-served, space available basis. In addition to sharing savings on gas, vehicle maintenance, and parking, and commuting faster, you and your carpool members can park easily with preferential parking for carpools!

Joining the UW Carpool Club

  1. Contact Commute Options & Planning at to register your carpool.
  2. Get your Carpool Club hangtag from Commute Options & Planning.
  3. Carpool to UW and park in specially marked preferential carpool parking stalls marked for carpools.
  4. After you park, display your Carpool Club hangtag on your rear view mirror.

What does membership in the Carpool Club cost? There is no additional cost to register in the Carpool Club! If you are eligible to park in the lot and have a paid parking product for that lot, then you can join the Carpool Club.

What if I don’t have a carpool? If you need help starting a carpool or finding more people to join your carpool, email


A vanpool is a group of five to 15 people who live at least three miles away from the UW Seattle campus and who commute to campus together in a van that is owned, maintained and insured by King County Metro Transit, Community Transit, Island Transit, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit or Intercity Transit.

Commuting in a vanpool lets you use HOV lanes and on-ramps to speed up your commute. For even more flexibility, King County Metro Transit, Community Transit, Island Transit and Kitsap Transit vans can be outfitted with bicycle racks so it’s easy to use your bicycle to run errands during the day.

Parking a Vanpool on Campus

Vanpools park free of charge within general stalls of any university permit-parking lot, but they cannot park in restricted spaces (i.e. Pay Station areas and/or numbered stalls, disability spaces, load/unload only, university vehicles only, etc…) within those lots.

Vanpool Fares

Vanpool fares are calculated by the transit agency who owns the van and based on the distance the van travels daily and the number of people in the vanpool. Your U-PASS is worth up to $80.00 off your monthly vanpool fare for full-time participants (three or more days per week) or up to $40.00 off your monthly vanpool fare for part-time participants (two days per week or less). If a vanpool’s monthly fare is greater than $80.00 or $40.00 respectively, you would be responsible for paying any remaining amount due to the vanpool’s bookkeeper. A U-PASS member with a 50-mile round-trip commute could save up to $4,000 annually (based on 32.5 cents/mile commuting costs and a five-day work week) by commuting in an eight-passenger vanpool rather than driving alone.

Benefits for Vanpool Leaders

When it comes to vanpooling, it pays to be in the driver’s seat. Each vanpool driver receives a complimentary U-PASS and has some personal use of the van. One backup driver or bookkeeper per van also receives a complimentary U-PASS. If you are eligible to receive a complimentary U-PASS because of your role as a vanpool driver, backup driver, or bookkeeper, please notify Transportation Services and request a complimentary U-PASS. Please note, if you receive a complimentary U-PASS, you are required to notify Transportation Services immediately if you are no longer a vanpool driver or bookkeeper or are otherwise ineligible for the gratis U-PASS.

Vanshare Program

A vanshare is a group of five or more commuters sharing the ride to or from a public transit link or hub. Vanshare is a great option for commuters who want to take transit but find there’s a gap between their homes and a transit stop or the end of the transit route and their final destination. Vanshares “bridge the gap” (maximum 20 miles round trip daily) between a bus, ferry or train and the destination.

Vanshares enjoy benefits similar to vanpools. Vanshares park free of charge in any University permit parking lot, but they cannot park in the restricted spaces (disability spaces, load/unload only, University vehicles only, etc…) within those lots. The UW also underwrites a portion of the monthly vanshare fare, up to $20 per U-PASS member per month. Best of all, vanshares help to extend the reach of the transit system – allowing you to overcome any gaps in the transit network and use your U-PASS for transit.

Register for the U-PASS vanpool or vanshare subsidy

You must register in the U-PASS Vanpool Subsidy Database in order to receive a vanpool or vanshare subsidy. Your U-PASS is worth up to $80.00 off your monthly vanpool fare for full-time participants (three or more days per week) or up to $40.00 off your monthly vanpool fare for part-time participants (two days per week). Your U-PASS is worth up to $20.00 off your monthly vanshare fare.

Registration is easy: Use the online registration formand enter your UW NetID, your vanpool/vanshare’s Group Identification Number, which transit agency you vanpool/vanshare with and how many times you commute by vanpool/vanshare per week.

Please note, you are required to notify Transportation Services immediately if you are no longer a vanpool rider, bookkeeper, or driver, or if you change the vanpool in which you are participating.

Connect with a vanpool or vanshare

Contact the free Regional Ridematch service at or call 888-814-1300. Provide the details of your commute (such as your start time, location and the time you leave campus) and Ridematch will send you the names and numbers of existing vanpools and potential vanpool partners. If you are interested in forming a new vanpool, let Ridematch know and they will send you additional information on how the process works.

Check the regional Riders Wanted Listings for a list of existing vanpools seeking new participants.

Check the UW Riders Wanted List for existing UW vanpools who are seeking new participants.

If you are trying to form a new vanpool and need riders, ask your co-workers, neighbors and friends. Often friends and colleagues live near you and would like to share the ride. With close to 70,000 students, staff and faculty coming to campus, even those with unusual schedules can usually find someone living nearby to share the ride.

Contact a transit agency for help starting or joining a vanpool or vanshare

  • King County Metro Transit - Contact Metro’s rideshare operations at 206-625-4500 or check out their Metro Vanpool Starter Kit.
  • Community Transit - Contact their vanpool coordinator at 425-353-7433 or visit their web page.
  • Kitsap Transit - Contact their vanpool coordinator at 360-478-5858 or visit their web page.
  • Island Transit - Contact their rideshare coordinator at 360-678-7771 (ext. 3) or visit their web page.
  • Pierce Transit - Contact their vanpool coordinator at 253- 983-3377 or check out their vanpool toolbox.
  • Intercity Transit - Contact their vanpool coordinator at 360-786-8800 or visit Intercity Transit’s vanpool program web page.

Washington State Ferries preferential loading

The Washington State Ferry system issues High-Occupancy-Vehicle (HOV) permits for preferential loading onto the ferries to registered vanpools and carpools. You can register your car or van by filling out the registration form and submitting payment by credit card to the Washington State Ferry system. For all the rules and regulations of the Washington State Ferries rideshare program, take a peek at their Rideshare Program Brochure.

Finding a rideshare partner

Need help connecting with a rideshare partner? UW has partnered with Zimride to provide a convenient way to match up with other students, faculty and staff looking to share the ride.

You can also connect with rideshare partners through RideshareOnline which is managed by Washington State Department of Transportation and is currently available throughout Washington and Idaho.

Campus visitors can share the ride too

Consider sharing a ride to the next football or basketball game or Meany Hall concert. It’s easy to connect with people going your way through RideshareOnline.

Print a Riders Wanted sign

Need to find a new carpool or vanpool partner? Print out a riders wanted sign, fill in your carpool or vanpool’s origin, destination and contact information then display the sign anywhere you want to advertise for rideshare partners. In your break room, locker room, a window in your vehicle or where ever you think possible rideshare partners would be. It’s an easy way to advertise that you’re looking for new carpool or vanpool participants.