We're sorry, but the page you were seeking does not exist. It may have been moved or expired. Perhaps our search engine can help.
Public bus service in Juneau is inadequate to meet the transportation needs of many residents. The Capital Transit schedule works well for the stereotypical 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. government employee, but it falls short for the many people who work a bit outside of the normal work day or work week.
I want my children to become socially responsible, and I have tried to extol the virtues of ridesharing and mass transportation. But the reality for my teenage sons is that they cannot compete in school or obtain many entry-level jobs without an automobile.
For my son attending Juneau-Douglas High School, the school bus is not an option because he is one of many students who take a ``zero-period'' course that starts at 7 a.m. The earliest city bus leaves our valley neighborhood at 7:02 a.m., way too late to get him to school on time. He shares a ride when he can, but Mom or Dad often need to make the 20-mile round trip between the valley and downtown to get him to class.
On a dark winter morning with icy roads, how many parents really feel comfortable letting their teenager hitch a ride with a newly licensed driver in a well-used ``starter'' car of questionable mechanical condition? He is also involved in extra-curricular activities that cause him to miss the return bus departing at the end of the ``normal'' school day, forcing him to bum a ride or pay for a Capitol Transit bus. Many valley teens are forced into this predicament because of limited school bus service and Capitol Transit service.
Another son just had to turn down a promising job because, without a car, couldn't be at work at 6:45 a.m. or get home if he worked on Sunday or late on a weeknight. He is in that Catch-22 where he needs a job to get a car, but can't get a car without a job.
I have lived in other communities where school and city bus service was much more user-friendly and provided a workable alternative for the majority of residents. Here are some suggestions based on successful examples:
For the school bus problem, I recommend that the school board look into an ``activities bus'' to make an early and late daily run. This would provide a safer and environmentally friendly transportation for ``zero period'' students, as well as those who stay late for the many after-school activities. I have seen the ``activities bus'' concept work well at other schools, with the cost partly defrayed by a nominal ``activities fee'' charged to students enrolled in extra-curricular activities. Another suggestion is a student voucher system to defray costs for students using Capital Transit buses to participate in school-sanctioned activities such as sporting events.
As for Capitol Transit, simply adding one additional morning and evening run would allow the system to serve many more citizens. I realize that increasing operating hours will require increased subsidies in these days of austere budgets, but it is not unreasonable to expect a bus service that can get you from the valley to school or work before 7 a.m. Indeed, we have a fiscal duty to provide viable bus transportation to those of limited means.
Wendall F. Bishop