School buses are heading for disaster

Posted: Thursday, August 27, 2009

The school year is fast approaching and already the school bus system is plummeting into the abyss.

Bus 29 is scheduled to pick up students from my stop at the bottom of Blackerby Street at Twin Lakes at 9:02 a.m. It is then scheduled to arrive at Juneau-Douglas High School at 9:10. There is so much wrong with the timing here. To start with, the bus is scheduled to arrive at JDHS a mere five minutes before school starts. I would be pushing myself to drop off heavy books for later classes at my locker and then get to class on time. All of the JDHS buses are scheduled to arrive at 9:10 a.m., but five minutes before school starts simply isn't enough time. For an elementary student who needs only to go to class, perhaps it is enough time, but not a high schooler who may need to talk to a teacher or print something out in the library before class. I expect to see a sudden influx of tardy students.

It's also expected that the bus will get from the hospital to the high school in six minutes. Being a sailor who has done this commute many times over the summer, I know that to get from my house to the Juneau Yacht Club, which is closer than JDHS, takes about eight minutes. When school starts, they also will need to factor in the long line of cars waiting to turn off the highway at JDHS, a turn that often creates a line longer than the turning lane at the school each morning.

Not knowing how long it takes to get to JDHS from other parts of town, I can't say all bus routes will be as flawed. But arriving at 9:10 each morning is a problem they all share, and I ask the school bus company to please learn from your past mistakes before this blows up in your face. Fix the problem now, before you filing cabinet labeled "complaints" starts to fill up and you start to look very, very foolish.

Katherine Wilson

Juneau-Douglas High School junior


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