Goodbye School Bus: Hello City Bus

Recognizing that providing transit passes to students costs about the same as operating a system of buses in-house, some schools are giving students access to public transit.

Read Time: 2 minutes

October 13, 2015, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


"This year, St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) launched a pilot program to study how feasible it may be to send their high school students to and from school via city bus," reports Kritoffer Tigue. "And if the program proves successful, St. Paul may soon be joining Minneapolis in doing away with most yellow buses for their public high schools."

The program, the result of a partnership between SPPS and Metro Transit, allows students "to ride city buses to and from school, as well as for personal use over the weekend." School officials have proposed several potential benefits of the program: first is more flexibility for students participating in a number of after-school activities. Also, "officials say the program will also help break down barriers for students of color and low income families, who often can’t participate in certain activities or obtain work because of a lack of good transportation options."

SPPS is far from the first school district to choose public transit over yellow buses. According to Tigue, "Minneapolis Public Schools began using city buses for student transportation for five of their high schools in 2012, but upped it to seven the following year. This year, around 6,500 MPS high school students are using their Student Pass program, according to Metro Transit, and another 40 schools throughout the metro region are buying into the program by the end of the year."

Although the benefits to the student population are well documented in the article, the potential benefits to short- and long-term ridership, revenues, or route planning are potential avenues of study stemming from programs like those located in Twin Cities.

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