It looks like Ballard and Franklin students will be riding Metro to school, starting in the fall. Metro’s official position is positive, but it looks like some bus drivers have misgivings. From the March 3rd PI article:
“Marc Auerbach, a 10-year Metro Transit operator and former Seattle school bus driver, urged the board not to meet just with Metro executives but to sit down with drivers as well. He noted that Metro drivers aren’t able to deal with discipline problems or other potential emergencies.”
They aren’t the only ones. Though I am positive about the idea in theory, I have ridden the bus with high school kids enough to know I’m not going to like it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be one of those grown folks who hates on teenagers. Shoot, when I was a teenager, I rode Metro to school–and most likely cut up and made too much noise, like the kids I ride with now. OK, so maybe I am one of those old folks hatin’ on teenagers (sorry, guys), but my own potential (and minor) irritation is certainly not what’s at issue.
I hope that the district considered all the costs associated with this change when calculating the projected savings. It’s not just about buying bus passes for the kids. There will be the added service on the most frequently used routes (unless they’re assuming that the county is going to cover it), possible schedule changes to accomodate staggered arrival, and, of course, discipline. (Metro plans to ask for staff from the district and the two schools to work with its transit police and operations personnel.)
It will be interesting to see how everything goes. I hope they can work the kinks out with the pilot and find a way to make it successful. It would be nice to see the district save money and take advantage of its existing (and quite good) bus service.
What do you think? Anyone out ride on one of the affected routes (I’m guessing the 15, 28, 7, and 48)? Any high school kids who will be part of the program?