Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

Metro "school term" bus trips: possible solution

I agree with Dave -- this is an excellent article!

If no solution is found, I would suggest that a group of parents lobby the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District for supplementary "school term" bus service to DeLaveaga Elementary School.

Public transit agencies are forbidden from offering dedicated school bus service, but they are free to extend regular bus routes to cover schools. Elsewhere in Santa Cruz County, Metro provides "school term" service in the Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo Valley areas. The extra bus trips are timed to the school day and run only during the school year. School students and members of the public can ride, but in practice "school term" trips are not promoted to the general public.

Although parents may not be accustomed to sending kids to school on transit, this is common practice in many other cities. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for example, there are no school buses for the public school system. Students even learn to transfer from one public transit route to another, in the downtown core. In Toronto, I rode public transit to school starting in the 5th Grade. Santa Cruz Metro, for its part, is a very safe transit system.

One of my goals for the Metro Riders Union was to help Watsonville-area parents lobby for "school term" transit service, in the wake of severe school bus cuts at the Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD). Though the passage of the $15 billion state deficit bond has eased budget pressures at PVUSD, I'd still like to organize people around this issue. I have already developed a map showing the schools and the existing Metro bus routes. Perhaps the initiative could be extended to Santa Cruz as well.

My parents and my husband's parents are all elementary school teachers, and we talked to them about transit. One suggestion was that chaperones ride with the students. I think an organized group of parents could convince Metro to provide free tickets to chaperones. In my wildest dreams, we could secure a $15-per-month youth pass, similar to what AC Transit, one of California's largest public bus systems, once provided.

Parents, students, school board members and others are encouraged to help out! The e-mail address is given above.

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