Bus unreliability affects many

Cold weather worsens transportation systems

Bus+unreliability+affects+many

Sarah Peterson

As Minnesotans, none of us are unfamiliar with the bone-chilling cold that the winter brings. The last few months have been icy, frigid and extremely windy. This brings up concerns for students who have to withstand these temperatures every morning to get on their buses. With many Park students relying on this transportation day in and day out, it’s an important topic that should be discussed at Park.

After the district wide budget reductions last year, several changes have been made to the transportation system at Park. One of the biggest changes has been condensed stops during routes. This has impacted many students, as a lot have a much longer way to walk every morning to get to their stop. 

With below-zero temperatures in the morning, it can be difficult to make that long trek to the bus stop. Students, including myself, are walking much farther than usual to make it to their stop. The ice along the way is hazardous for some, and the biting wind is not a pleasurable way to begin every morning. 

Another issue that I’ve seen arise this year with transportation is its unreliability. My bus has never been consistent with its arrival time throughout this school year, and I usually have to guess when it’ll come. With the colder temperatures and icy roads, my bus and others have been arriving much later than usual — sometimes not even arriving at all. 

There have been two instances this winter where my bus didn’t show up. I got out and waited for 25 minutes in three degree weather — giving up when I couldn’t feel my toes anymore. It was five minutes before the first bell, and my bus was still nowhere to be seen.

I am lucky because I have a parent at home who can drive me if an issue like that arises, but a lot of others may not. The bus is the sole source of transportation for many students, so Park needs to figure out how they can make it more reliable and consistent day-to-day. If we, as a school, value attendance so much, we should first make sure every kid can make it to school in the morning. 

One thing that Park could do to relieve these issues is with the app Traversa Ride 360. It can be used to track where your bus is and see its arrival and departure times. The school has been using this app, but it is barely communicated to families. I do not know one person who actually has the app, but it could be useful if more people knew about it. People would better know when to time their walk to their stop, if they could see where their bus was on a map. In the winter, students wouldn’t have to freeze outside for 20 minutes, wondering where their bus is. 

Winter is hard for everyone. It’s hard on teachers, bus drivers and students alike. Students don’t deserve these kinds of difficulties with transportation, along with the stressful lives they already lead as highschoolers. Park is no stranger to these incredibly cold temperatures, so we should have more actions in place when problems like these arise.