On the Bus to Moonridge: A reflection on public transportation in Half Moon Bay

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YLI is My Story

My experience with public transportation has been pretty mediocre to say the least. It’s what you would expect from a bus nothing more nothing less. I just use it to get from point A to point B.  

I live in an apartment complex called Moonridge, which is 3 miles outside of Half Moon Bay. Most of the families here are lower class so many of them don’t have a car, and if they do it’s not enough to fit their whole family. Many of the families here also have their extended family living with them. It’s not uncommon to have to share a room with another person in your family. Because of this, many families can’t get to work on time and get their kids to class by the time the bell rings. For me, in elementary school this wasn’t such a big problem because the school that I went to (Farallone View) sent a school bus specifically for the kids living in Moonridge. That was what drove a lot of parents in my area to enroll their kids in that school compared to the other schools in the same area. 

When Middle school came around there was no bus to bring us to and from school. Instead we had to take public transportation. There wasn’t that big of a difference from taking a regular school bus to public buses. For some it was even seen as a sign of growing up. The issues started to become clearer in high school, though, when I took a first period. First period started at 8 o’clock sharp so the only bus that I could take was the 7:15 bus, which would usually get me there at around 7:25 since traffic didn’t pick up yet. I would have to wait outside on one of the benches for class to start. I remember some days getting so cold that I would go into the bathroom with one of my buddies to turn on the hand dryers just so we could get a bit of warmth. 

The start times in my opinion were what caused a lot of problems because back in middle school the bell rang at 8:30 so I could take the 8 o’clock bus. But since high school class started at the top of the hour I had to take the bus an hour before and be extra early every day. The bus schedule also is a bit of a problem. Because it usually comes every hour, if I ever want  or need to go into town I have to plan it instead of just hopping in a car and driving off. It would be better in my opinion if the buses came every half hour instead of hourly. 

I believe that public transportation is important for people who don’t have a car, like me. I use the bus all the time to get to school and on occasion, to get to work. I also know plenty of people who rely on the public transportation system to get around. Public transportation is also incredibly important at this time because most of the essential workers that aren’t very well paid (doctors, emergency services, maintenance crews) are lower class people who use the bus to get to work. These people running the stores, restaurants, and gas stations are the ones who are running what little is left of the economy.

Another thing I would change is the cleanliness of the bus. It’s not out of the ordinary to have dirt all over the floor or to have marks and spots all over the poles that you’re supposed to be holding onto while you’re standing. I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten sick at least once from riding the bus. And it is especially important that they are clean these days because of the current epidemic. A public bus ride is a very easy way to get infected, and most of the people riding the bus are essential workers in restaurants and stores. They can infect many more people, causing the epidemic to go even further than it already has. A good way to prevent this from happening is by cleaning the bus more regularly and maybe even have disinfecting wipes, facemask, and plastic glove dispensers – although it could be hard to acquire a large amount of facemasks. 

There could also be better security on the bus because I have noticed that sometimes while riding the bus there have been students that have been using E-cigarettes. Not only is this a public health hazard due to the second hand smoke but this is also a problem with the security on the bus. There is no security guard or other designated person on the bus to ensure that everyone rides safely (other than the driver). There are cameras that can catch people smoking in the back, but I am not sure if these cameras are ever checked. I believe that this problem hasn’t been brought to anyone’s attention because of the fear to speak up or to “snitch” them out.

The walk from my house to the bus stop isn’t that big of a drag. I have been walking to the same bus stop for almost 12 years so I could be biased because of the nostalgia of making that walk. The walk from the bus stop to the top of the hill is more of a drag for me. I have also noticed that students tend to jaywalk to get to the other side after getting off the bus which isn’t seen as a big problem now but if you let teenagers cross a busy road with other teenage drivers behind the wheel problems are bound to occur.

The bus system in Half Moon Bay is a necessity for the lower middle class and lower class that live in the area. Many of the problems that I mentioned have to do with equity. The lower class suffers because of these problems, which makes life that much more difficult. It really goes to show that it’s expensive to be poor. In this environment and in these times, it is very important that we take these issues very seriously because a small problem no matter how small can result in an even bigger problem in no time.