From yellow to white

Minneapolis Public School system is having students use Metro Transit.

Nasser Mussa

Minneapolis Public Schools are making a major change in their transportation system this year:  Students will take city buses instead of  school buses. Under the new plan, the high school seniors will receive a “Go-To Card Student Pass” which gives students unlimited access to Metro Transit buses seven days a week between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. Some schools have already implemented the program and have had their high school seniors share city buses with everyday passengers. The program may give students greater access to transportation, which will allow them to more readily participate in after-school programs and may increase their ability to travel to helpful places in the urban
area.

The plan appears to be beneficial for students insofar that it minimizes students’ reliance on school buses as a primary mode of transportation for their daily commutes. According to the Minneapolis Public School website, the program will “offer students scheduling flexibility and access to a wide variety of learning opportunities in the community. Students will have more opportunities to remain at school for academic programs, sports and other activities beyond the regular school day.” The plan would also promote student integration into public life beyond high school and give them additional opportunities to explore and learn about their community.

Although the program was welcomed by many students and parents, there were also community members who voiced concerns about the safety of students on metro buses, which may make them easier targets for criminals. The group responded by creating a Facebook page called “Put All Mpls HS Students Back on School Buses” where they have expressed their worries. “We are concerned that putting high school students on Metro Transit buses will put students at risk,” said one of the group members in a recent post.

I have been using Metro Transit transportation for more than five years, and I understand their concerns. Sometimes it gets rough on buses as you share long rides with different people, including less-than-savory passengers. I have witnessed incidents on buses that included fist-fighting and numerous heated arguments. While switching from yellow buses to city buses benefits students, Metro Transit and Minneapolis Public Schools need to address the safety concerns in order to protect the best interests of its students.