Kids Rule

It often comes up that Marshall County is disadvantaged by not having public transportation. This is one of many “Save the Planet” initiatives and often called out as a CC problem. But I can’t help but wonder how effective it would be when we don’t use the one that’s already in place? I’m talking about School Buses…

I’m not picking on the current generation in school (except for Greta), because this has been an issue for decades. The number of kids on the buses continues to dwindle as the parking lots at schools continue to grow. There’s some justification in the older kids that have extra curriculars and maybe after school jobs, but it doesn’t negate the fact that we have a working public transit system that is largely being abandoned.

To some extent, this appears to be a trained response. Schools are forced to accommodate the “car line” phenomenon, where increasingly, kids at younger ages are dropped off and picked up by a parent. Despite new accommodations, there are still traffic jams around schools in the mornings and late afternoons as parents line up to pick up their kids. Watching from the outside, I don’t see many cases of carpooling in these lines either.

I know a few school administrators that would probably shoot me for pushing more bus use, since they are constantly looking for drivers, but allowing for the personnel problem, the rest of the system is already in place and budgeted. Are there options for creative scheduling to at least accommodate the extracurricular things? Would promoting school bus use for students help stem the tide of personal vehicle use? Could school buses be repurposed during non-school delivery times to serve as public transportation, saving the creation of new infrastructure?

Honestly, I’m not sure how viable public transportation is for rural areas; school buses or otherwise. Even at the size of Plymouth (10,000), I’m not sure there’s sufficient mass to justify the cost, let alone for all of Marshall County. But my point is, if we’re not weaning the next generation off individual car transportation, then it’s not going to matter. If we continue to cater to them, acting as personal chauffeurs for 5-year-olds, and making personal car ownership a right of passage at 16, then the trend won’t be broken. Kids Rule…


For more of my thoughts on school buses, try Commuting Observations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Copyright 2011 - Easterday Construction Company, Inc. - All rights reserved.