FAQ

Q: What's a Smart Trip?

Any trip made by walking, bicycling, sharing a ride or riding the bus that replaces a drive-alone vehicle trip. Your trip must start or end in Whatcom County. Smart Trips can be recorded by anyone age 14 or older. Walking and bicycling for exercise are not eligible as Smart Trips. Walking and bicycling to leisure activities are eligible as Smart Trips.

Ridesharing is defined as two or more licensed drivers sharing a ride to the same destination or separate destinations along the same path of travel. The rideshare trip must eliminate a drive-alone vehicle trip. Ridesharing among young people 14–18 years old is not eligible as a Smart Trip.

Q: How do I participate?

Complete the New User Registration on this website. Then record your Smart Trips using the Trip Diary on this website. You may record up to one Smart Trip per day. A Smart Trip must be made on the stated date. Enter your one way mileage and we will double it to reflect your full trip.

You can enter Smart Trips for the current calendar month and the previous calendar month using this website.

Paper entry forms are also available for people who do not have internet access. For information on paper entry forms, contact us.

City of Bellingham, Whatcom County, WTA, WCOG, and other sponsors are not responsible for technical failures in entry transmission, or lost, late, misdirected, damaged, incomplete, illegible, or postage due entries. Entry constitutes permission (except where prohibited by law) to use the winner's name, hometown, and any text submitted for the purposes of promotion on behalf of Whatcom Smart Trips.

Q: How do I change my password, email address, home address or employer?

Sign into your trips diary as you always have. Click on the link in the upper right corner of the screen that says “My Account”. Once there you can change any of your personal info on your account including your email address.

Q: When will I receive my discount card?

Discount cards are automatically sent out as soon as you have 10 Smart Trips entered into your trip diary for the year. If you have 10 trips entered for the year and still haven’t received your card, please call us so we can verify your mailing address. 360-756-TRIP.

Q: How do prize drawings work?

$1,000 cash prize drawings will be held quarterly. To qualify, participants must record at least 5 Smart Trips per month during the previous three months.

$250 cash prize drawings are held monthly. To qualify, participants must record at least five Smart Trips during the previous month.

Prize drawings are held at the beginning of each month. Paper entry forms must be received and online trip diaries submitted by the 5th of the month to qualify. Whatcom Smart Trips staff will contact winners to arrange for prize delivery. If a prize winner cannot be reached after several reasonable attempts via phone and email, a new winner will be chosen. If a prize winner is under 18, his/her parents will be contacted and asked for approval before the prize is awarded.

Q: How can I quickly enter repeat trips into my trip diary?

Use the Autofill Feature to enter repeat trips. Click the calendar on a date you made a Smart Trip and enter the information about that trip. In the last field use the drop down to choose:

  • I make this trip every Monday (or whatever weekday you are logging for)
  • I make this trip every weekday

Click ‘Submit Trip’, you'll see the trip applied to other days on the calendar. To make adjustments to any of those days, click on the calendar and edit or delete the day's trip as needed.

Q: I had a Smart Trips account a long time ago, should I just start another one?

No. Your old account is still there and you can keep accumulating trips right where you left off. If you can’t remember the email you used to sign up, just give us a call during business hours and we can look it up for you and update it over the phone.

Q: What situations qualify for Emergency Ride Home?

  • You or a family member becomes ill during your work day
  • Your supervisor requires you (unexpectedly) to work past your normal quitting time
  • Your carpool or vanpool driver experiences any of the above situations

The fine print:

  • You must be 18 or older to request an Emergency Ride Home
  • Emergency Ride Home is only available 8am to 8pm on weekdays
  • Up to one brief stop can be made between the worksite and final destination (for example, in the event a family member needs to be picked up from a school or medical facility and taken home)
  • Emergency Ride Home trips CANNOT be booked for: personal errands, scheduled medical or other appointments, transit delays, rain or inclement weather, expected or foreseeable overtime.
  • Schedule your trip by calling WTA at 360-676-7433

Q: Who sponsors Whatcom Smart Trips?

Whatcom Smart Trips is sponsored by the City of Bellingham, Whatcom County, WTA, Whatcom Council of Governments, the State of Washington, and grants from Northwest Clean Air Agency, Puget Sound Energy, ConocoPhillips Ferndale Refinery, and the U.S. Department of Energy. The latter comes from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding.

Q: What are the goals of Whatcom Smart Trips?

Whatcom Smart Trips promotes transportation by walking, bicycling, sharing rides, and riding the bus. These trips:

  • Reduce traffic congestion
  • Build a more efficient transportation system that provides more mobility and access for less cost
  • Provide health benefits to individuals
  • Strengthen social connections
  • Create a more vibrant local business community
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other types of air and water pollution

Whatcom Smart Trips encourages people to try alternatives to driving alone and rewards those who are already making Smart Trips. It applies to all trips, including the trip to work, errands, school, or leisure activities.

Q: Are there any tax consequences for being a prize winner?

Whatcom Smart Trips will comply with the IRS reporting requirements for prize winners. According to the IRS instructions, a Form 1099–MISC is required for any person receiving over $600 in prizes and awards. Recipients of prizes qualifying for a 1099–MISC must agree to provide the information necessary for the 1099-MISC in order to receive their prize; they should expect to receive their forms in time to file their appropriate tax returns.

Q: What if I drive a hybrid or electric vehicle?

If there is more than one licensed person in the car for the trip, then it counts as a ridesharing trip. Driving alone in a hybrid or electric vehicle is not an eligible Smart Trip.

Hybrid and electric vehicles provide savings to individual drivers and contribute positively to the community, but not in the same way as walking, bicycling, sharing rides and riding the bus. These latter four forms of travel are promoted by Whatcom Smart Trips for the full range of individual and community benefits that they provide. Please see our program goals described above.

Q: Why are motorcycles not included as an alternative mode?

If there is more than one licensed person riding the motorcycle, then the trip counts as a ridesharing trip. Riding a motorcycle by oneself is not an eligible Smart Trip.

Motorcycles provide savings to individual riders and contribute positively to the community by consuming much less fossil fuel. Other community benefits are less certain. For example, according to the EPA, current motorcycle engines pollute at a rate 90 times higher per mile than passenger cars or even a large sport utility vehicle. More information on this issue may be found through the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality.

Walking, bicycling, sharing rides and riding the bus are promoted by Whatcom Smart Trips for the full range of individual and community benefits that they provide.

Q: What if I use a scooter?

An electric bicycle qualifies as a bicycle. Trips made by motorcycle type scooters are considered ridesharing trips when more than one licensed person is riding the scooter. Riding a motorcycle type scooter by oneself is not an eligible Smart Trip for the same reasons described above for motorcycles.

Q: What if I use a wheelchair?

Trips made by wheelchair are eligible in the "walking" category, as long as the trip replaces a drive–alone vehicle trip.

Q: Are other types of foot–powered transportation eligible under the "walking" category?

Yes, as long as you are replacing a car trip, it is eligible in the "walking" category. Push and motorized skateboards, onewheel, jogging, inline skating, push and electric scooters all count.

Q: How did you calculate how much pollution I prevented and how much money I saved by making Smart Trips?

We used Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Emission Facts (PDF 120K) to calculate the average emissions and fuel consumption for passenger cars. The document also contains statistics for SUVs and light trucks. If you drive an SUV or light truck, and would like calculations based on your personal Smart Trips mileage, contact us.

We used AAA statistics on average gas prices in Washington State to calculate money saved. If prices change dramatically, we'll update the price used in our calculation.

Q: I'm not interested in prizes or material rewards. Are there other reasons to record my Smart Trips?

When you record your Smart Trips, you become more aware of your daily transportation choices and patterns. If you are looking for opportunities to make more Smart Trips, recording your Smart Trips can help you.

We'll also tell you how many vehicle miles you eliminated and how much air pollution you've prevented from being emitted. When we add our pollution prevention statistics together, we create an amazing demonstration of how small individual efforts add up to a big change in our community. This reinforces our own choices and encourages others to take part.

Q: I'm having trouble logging my trips.

If you are having trouble logging trips, contact us at 360-756-TRIP and we'll do our best to help you out!