Noctiluca Editorial: Creating a public bus line that serves all students equally


Are you aware that there is no hourly bus line to North? For many students, when the final bell rings, the real day begins. Teenagers all throughout the school rush to soccer practice or theater rehearsal, not a thought in the world about how they’ll be getting home afterward. However, for students who can’t afford the luxury of a personal vehicle or whose parents are unable to pick them up, this thought is everything.

 The city of Appleton is fortunate enough to be endowed with a public bus system. Running Monday through Saturday, this invaluable resource provides a method of transportation throughout the Fox Cities, making hourly trips to all of its seventeen established routes. Of these seventeen, there are two separate routes that carry passengers directly in front of both Appleton East and Appleton West high schools. Appleton North, on the other hand, is scheduled on a “peak hour” route, providing busing only twice a day, before and after school. For students who use the Valley Transit, this means that there’s no way of getting home past 3:05.

 At North, there has been an attempt to get an established public bus route in the works for the past year. This project, lead by various members of staff and administration, is aimed to serve those at North without the financial means or capability of taking a school bus or providing their own transportation. Mrs. Strick, the school’s social worker, has been one of the main staff members involved in the project. “This route will serve students who are living in poverty, and those whose health issues make it difficult to get to school right away in the morning, allowing them to at least make it for part of the school day,” she said.

 This new bus line will also allow many students the ability to participate in after school activities that before were unavailable to them. Kids who normally avoid going out for sports and theater would no longer be held back by the lack of available night time transportation.

 “The bus will increase student involvement at school. Everyone will be able to cheer on the football team or see the musical, regardless of their economic status,” said Mrs. Strick. Students who take classes at alternative schools also suffer from the lack of public transport.

 Those learning at the Valley New School who wish to be involved are required to participate in extracurriculars at North, as their school does not contain the necessary facilities or student population. However, there is no method of movement between the schools; the bus only stops at North once in the afternoon, and the VNS kids get out too late to catch it. This creates a barrier for many economically challenged kids, whose parents are unable to drive them or may not even own a car themselves.

  This lack of accessibility hurts not only students, but their parents as well. If parents have no way of getting to the school, how can they be expected to meet with administration, fill out paperwork, and attend conferences? Things that most of us take for granted would be unavailable to those whose economic situation doesn’t afford them the luxury of a personal vehicle.

  Fortunately, there may be a line on the way. Assistant Superintendent Ben Vogel has had ongoing conversations with Fox Valley Transit in an attempt to create additional bus lines. The goal of this project is to have a bus run to North several times a day and into the evening.

 The establishment of a steady bus route to Appleton North is crucial to our school’s accessibility and sense of equality. Without this reliable form of transportation, many students will miss out on many invaluable opportunities that high school can offer, robbing them of countless social and educational experiences.