School buses swapped for Metro Transit at most MPS high schools - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

School buses swapped for Metro Transit at several MPS high schools

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When school starts in Minneapolis, many teens won't be riding big yellow buses now that the Minneapolis Public School District is phasing them out at several high schools, meaning students will ride Metro Transit buses instead.

Under the new transportation agreement, students will receive a free Metro Transit student bus pass. Students will be able to ride the bus to school, activities, or anywhere else they choose from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

Some parent's aren't too pleased about the new transit plan. Mary Hanson told FOX 9 her son Jacob would've had to ride two or three buses to get to school -- and the extended bus trip is one reason why he won't be attending Washburn High in the fall.

Jacob Hanson said, "Being on the bus isn't the best part of the day. Extending it by like, an hour doesn't sound fun at all."

Starting this year, students attending Washburn, Edison, Roosevelt, North and Wellstone high schools will be affected by the changes.

Minneapolis Public Schools Spokesman Stan Alleyne said the district believes changes will give students more flexibility and teach them to use public transportation.

"This opens up a lot of options for our students," Alleyne said. "They can stay at school later. They can get to school earlier. They can be in clubs and sports."

District leaders also believe the plan will help cut down on student absences because students who miss a bus can simply catch another one, but the options come with a price -- and though the district plans to spend $1 million on the passes, some parents worry the free bus passes could end up costing them.

"It's all about prioritizing -- finding out what we think is the most important thing to invest in," said Alleyne.

The district may use reserve funds to pay for the cost.

Many students are already on board with the plan. Students at Patrick Henry won't be riding Metro Transit buses until December, but many are looking forward to it. Joshuwan Simmons told FOX 9 he'd use the buses to go to school and football practice.

Yet, his fellow student, Gary Vang, is apprehensive about the plan.

"I myself am not really sure about the city bus idea," he said, adding that his parents also question whether he'll be safe.

Metro Transit Spokesman John Siqveland said security is priority.

"On every bus, the driver has instant contact with the communications center," he said.

According to Siqveland, most students will only need to ride one bus to get to school, but some families -- including the Hansons -- would rather pass on the free rides.

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