The Minneapolis Public Schools' all or most high school students bus passes has attracted a lot of public debate and worry from some parents. However, some high schoolers piloting the green "Go-To Cards" are giving the idea rave reviews.
Isabell Pone and Savanah Engel, both members of Citywide Student Government—a student council serving all of Minneapolis Public Schools—say the pass makes their lives much easier. While far from a conclusive survey of the roughly 1,000 students participating in the district's bus pass trial, their sentiments speak to how some teens are embracing the passes.
The trial is helping the district determine whether or not to invest in the program, which could cost the district between $1.9 and $2.5 million, including savings from idling district buses. So far, parents have raised a raft of potential problems with the program, including the possibly that their children will get lost, miss buses, and get into trouble on the bus.
"I live in North Minneapolis, and I take the (Metro Transit) bus every day for an hour," said Pone, a junior, speaking of her commute to .
Engel, a senior, said she lives only a mile-and-a-half from Southwest, so she doesn't qualify for a school bus ride to campus. The bus pass, though, has eased her mind for the months ahead.
"Yeah it is better in the winter," she said, laughing.
Pone and Engel say they are able to cram more activities and jobs into their schedules because they don't have to beg rides from friends or parents, or stick to school bus schedules.
"I use it every single day," Engel said. "Usually my parents aren’t home in time (to give me a ride)."
"It takes a long time, but it’s better than walking," Engel added.
"It gives me a little bit more freedom to do things I want to do—staying after school," Pone said. "My parents know where I’ll be because they know what bus route I'm on."
Pone said that even though bus schedules aren't optimized for high school start times, it hasn't crimped her personal schedule.
"Obviously, you have to compromise a little bit," she said, "but I can easily get where I'm going."