Transportation, the great equalizer. No matter who you are, where you come from, or what you believe, you will need to get from point A to point B somehow. This becomes an essential part of life as we get older. From school to work to any number of other places in between, transportation is one of the primary facets of our existence. But what about those who don't drive and are still maturing into responsible adults? How do students cope with the need for transportation in the early stages of their lives?
Let's first address the simplest and most popular yet uncommon method of transportation among modern youth, students driving themselves to school, or student driving, as I'll be calling it. While a majority of teenagers don't have this luxury, some students have made the effort to get their licenses as soon as they were legally able, and were fortunate enough to have regular access to a car. This is obviously a somewhat rare scenario, but that may be for the best.
You see, through my own research and personal experience, I've noticed that many public schools (specifically public high schools) have issues with student driving. This refers in particular to students who are taking up the parking spots of faculty members. Though seemingly petty at first glance, this causes a huge chain reaction of problems. Students or faculty are forced to park in the streets, which in turn slows down traffic, and the final result is an extremely frustrating situation at the end of the school day. Naturally, schools are trying to crack down on this issue, and results have been fairly successful. However, with some students getting ticketed, towed, or even suspended for this offense, students are slowly being influenced not to drive to school at all. This is unfortunate because these few cases of issue will ultimately remove what is arguably the most convenient method of getting to school as an option.
Another option that hundreds of kids use to get to and from school is parental transportation; or being driven by a parent or guardian. And while this method does away with the parking concerns of students bringing their own cars, it unfortunately comes with several problems of its own. Although traffic around schools is not generally inhibited by parental transportation in the morning or during the day, traffic at the end of the school day is another issue entirely.
The problem here arises in the fact that parents who show up to schools early often clog the intersections in front of the building, blocking the way of other drivers or even school buses from circulating through the area. Again this situation sounds manageable at first glance, but it becomes absolutely chaotic in practice. Thanks to a few stubborn parents, some schools end up looking and sounding like downtown New York city during rush hour at the end of the school day.
Principals have once again attempted to rectify this problem by encouraging parents not to stop in front of the school doors, but I've seen with my own eyes that these suggestions are almost unanimously ignored. While this situation has proven to be more beneficial to the school than the idea of student driving, there are still potential problems with parental transportation that need to be worked out.
The third and most universally encouraged method of transportation for students is public transit. Public transit is unarguably the most efficient solution for student transportation in terms of traffic volume before and after school hours. However, even this option comes with some admittedly mild concerns.
First of all, several ordinary citizens of Ontario who rely on public transit in their daily lives have raised concerns that public buses are becoming too crowded with dismissed students. They claim that this volume of students on a daily basis renders the public transit system incredibly inconvenient to the point of becoming nearly unusable. From personal experience, I must concur with these sentiments. I have seen how chaotic the bus system can get mere minutes after students are dismissed, along with several hours after dismissal. Students definitely overflow the buses between 2 to 4'o'clock, leaving little room for working adults or even senior citizens. This concern is undeniably valid and should definitely be considered in the future.
Overall, student transportation is much more complex than the average person would think. It's just a fact of life that when you need to move more than a hundred people to one place for five days a week, you're going to run into some problems. However, despite the issues with every option, I still believe that public transit is the most efficient method of transporting students to school; though not in its current form. The problems that arise from students using public transit, such as volume, need to be explored in the future if we want to eradicate this problem. I'm not even saying that effective methods of student transportation aren't already available. The GO bus and GO train are fine examples of this very concept, but those services aren't easily available to all students.
It's become crystal clear to the students of Ontario that public transit needs an increase in funding. A better funded and widespread public transit system would not only make taking the bus or train more convenient for both students and ordinary citizens, but it would actually cut the level of traffic in the mornings and afternoons. This in turn would cause driving to school to become a much more viable option.
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