Talk about timely travel arrangements. Just the other morning there was an article in the L.A. Times regarding the lane closures on the Mulholland bridge, cutting the lane quantity in half. The result? Massive traffic back ups.
That’s why, after years (apparently this has taken years; last year was our first year at Mirman), there are finally enough parents willing to let their kids ride the bus to school. This is no small feat. Parental control issues regarding the bus range from safety issues (they have seatbelts), to proximity issues (bullying, not enough space, fights), to some leftover weird anxiety that probably stems more from watching too many John Hughes movies during their adolescence than any sort of reality.
|Mulholland Bridge/LA Times|
As a native Angeleno, I have some terrible bus memories. Elementary school wasn’t so bad; my 1970s busing situation only had me traveling a mile or so. It was fairly ideal. But once I went to Palms Junior High for 7th grade, the bus became the transport of terror. LAUSD used Big Blue Buses as its school buses. It was pretty rough, with kids swinging around the handrails (this was pre-pole dancing, so there was no grace involved, just lots of gangly elbows in your face. And up your nose). And on band practice day, just don’t get me started. How they managed to fit all those kids into that bus with their trombones and basses and saxophones, I have no idea. It made a rush hour Manhattan subway look like a cakewalk.
But I have no worries about the bus I just put Anna onto. She knows most of the kids (there are some kids from Berkeley Hall on it, so maybe she’ll make some new friends). She seemed perfectly happy to stare out the window, and equally happy to chat with kids she hasn’t seen all summer. Although 7 a.m. pick up seems early to some of you, it’s the same time her carpool used to pick up, so the timing hasn’t really changed.
The only downside is the cost. The bus doesn’t come cheap. But, then, neither does the gas necessary to drive from the Eastside out to Muholland and the 405. And the idea that I won’t be waiting for fifty minutes on that shrunken bridge to go home every afternoon? Hey, that serenity is priceless.
Jenny Heitz has worked as a staff writer for Coast Weekly in Carmel, freelanced in the South Bay, and then switched to advertising copywriting. Her daughter started 4th grade at Mirman School this year. She previously attended 3rd St. Elementary School. Jenny has been published recently in the Daily News and on Mamapedia, The Well Mom, Sane Moms, Hybrid Mom, The Culture Mom and A Child Grows In Brooklyn. She now writes about gift ideas and products on her blog, Find A Toad.
One thought to “Guest Blogger Jenny: Mass School Transit In The Nick Of Time”
This is so interesting to me, Jenny. I grew up in New York, and took a small, private bus to elementary school until I was old enough to walk. Yes, in those days we did walk (quite a distance & across some major streets) to get to school. Then I took the subway once I got to high school. I never had any sort of issue involving bullying or other dangers.
Yet….I am not sure I want to send my kids to a school where I have to bus them! My main argument against it is that I feel so connected to our kids' preschool and their teachers because I get to do drop off & pick up every day. I don't love the time driving (then again, it's only 20 minutes each way) & perhaps I'll change my mind as they get older…it's a hard thing to imagine at this stage!
Thanks for this post, yet another thing to consider!