Editor's Note: We asked Sturgis Charter School's Jeffrey S. Hyer to ask a couple of his students to write a feature for CapeCodToday.com about their experiences commuting to school using a Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority bus. This is the first of two features.
By Katie Curran
Early in the morning, through thick and thin weather, you can usually find me waiting at the bus stop in Pocasset Village in the town of Bourne to ride the CCRTA bus to Sturgis Charter Public School in Hyannis. It's a long day, waking at 5:30 a.m. to catch the early bus. I along, with many Sturgis, Pope John Paul and St. Francis Xavier students rely on this bus as a means of transportation to our schools each day. My commute to school typically takes at least one hour with the CCRTA.
The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) is one of the 15 Regional Transit Authorities in Massachusetts that has been providing public transportation services to the Cape Cod Community since 1976. Its mission is to: “provide excellent customer service through efficient, reliable, safe, and affordable transit options to all of our customers and communities.”
I am a sophomore at Sturgis, a public school that provides an unparalleled “IB for All” experience. Sturgis is the number one high school in Massachusetts and the 31st best high school in the United States according to U.S. News World Report. As stated on their website, this International Baccalaureate school “provides each student a rigorous world-class educational program, encouraging academic achievement, intellectual confidence, and personal growth.”
The Sturgis experience makes an hour bus ride well worth it
Yes, I am in fact 15-years-old and I take an hour long bus to and from my school each day. I could have chosen another route that many high school students do, of simply taking the 10 minute drive to Bourne High School. Although it's not always easy, the commute on the CCRTA bus is worth it to attend Sturgis. The Sturgis experience is helping me become an open minded, global communicator that will prepare me for optimal success at a university. There’s something about the amazing atmosphere at Sturgis that makes every single second riding on that bus worth it.
We as Cape Codders are very lucky to have the CCRTA services available to us. Using my Charlie Card, the bus costs $1.50 each way. The bus drivers are always friendly and helpful to the students. I am one of the first kids to get on the bus and by the time we reach Mashpee Commons, the bus is overflowing. The same thing happens in the afternoon and the bus is overcrowded. By the time everyone from the Sturgis East campus has gotten on, there are no seats left for the West kids. There are so many kids that are dependent on this bus to get to and from school.
The CCRTA flaws
This now leads me to discuss the flaws in the CCRTA bus system. Usually the bus is jam packed with students. There are just too many kids and not enough buses available to transport the students to school. I believe that safety is often a concern when you have lots of kids standing and sitting on stairs on the bus when we come to quick stops. There are countless students holding on to not sitting properly as we make turns. More buses need to be provided to the schools so that kids can get home safely. Students shouldn’t have to stand for over an hour waiting to get home. There have been certain days where the number of kids on the buses was so ridiculous that there was no way to fit everyone.
The other complaint that I have is that the bus isn’t always following the proper time schedule. There were a few times this past school year that I waited along a snow bank for the bus and it never showed up. My parents would have to quickly drive me to school to get me there on time. Furthermore, there have been a few instances where the bus drivers have forgotten stops with lots of kids at them. The bus had to turn around to go back to the missed stops, resulting in me being late for school. I don’t mind riding the bus in the morning really, as I get in some extra studying.
The one hour ride sometimes takes twice as long
However, in the afternoon my school ends at 3:10 p.m. and I sometimes get home close to 5 p.m. If my parents drive me home in the afternoon, I get home at 4 p.m. I feel like I am losing too much of my afternoon on the overflowing, uncomfortable bus. To accommodate a huge number of riders, our comfort is often compromised. There are just a few things that could be improved for the riders to ensure the safety and satisfaction of everyone.
Overall, I have to say that I am satisfied with the CCRTA because for the most part, it successfully transports me from my house to school each day. I can get dropped off in the afternoon right in front of my house which is a definite plus. The cost of the bus ride is cheaper than what gas would cost to drive to Sturgis, so the affordability is a definite benefit.
The bus system would be improved if they had more buses for the amount of riders there are and if they stuck to a stricter more dependable bus schedule. CCRTA is a gateway into providing a world-class education to Cape Cod kids by transporting them to Sturgis Charter School. If there wasn’t a public bus, then some students wouldn’t be able to get to Sturgis. Although some improvements at the CCRTA need to be made in areas of operations such as reliability and safety, I am grateful to have the transportation services available for me to get to my exceptional high school, Sturgis Charter School.
My name is Katie Curran. I am a sophomore at Sturgis Charter Public School in Hyannis. I am an editor for the news section of my school newspaper. In addition to my school's newspaper, I am a member of the Model United Nations, Student Council, and Key Club at Sturgis. Outside of school, I like to volunteer, sail, play piano, and most of all travel. 2 years ago, I spent a summer in Spain and I absolutely loved speaking Spanish to my host family. This past summer, I was a youth exchange ambassador to Denmark and the Czech Republic.
I aspire to become a politician to make a difference in the world. I have already volunteered on various campaigns and lead a political camp for middle school and high school students. One of my goals is to get my law degree. My other interests include international affairs, economics and news reporting. One of the events that I have covered was President Barack Obama's Inauguration in Washington D.C. in January 2013. I am really enjoying every second at Sturgis and I know that this remarkable education will be put on a great path for my future.