The wheels on the bus go to Tiburon and Corte Madera. That’s it

A 14-minute walk to the bus stop. A 30-minute bus ride to school. A 20-minute walk from the bus stop to Redwood. Altogether, this morning commute would take a student who lives in my area of Marin City or Sausalito around an hour and 14 minutes to get to school. 

For many students, orchestrating a convenient ride to school can be quite difficult. Those without transportation from family or friends heavily rely on public buses. Bus riders who live in Tiburon and East Corte Madera are fortunate enough to be dropped off in the back parking lot. However, those who commute from Marin City, are dropped off at the Lucky Drive bus pad on the side of the freeway. This leaves them with a one-mile walk to school in the morning, a seemingly small, but truly significant distance. Students planning to take the earlier Marin City bus, which leaves at 7:23 a.m., must begin their walk from their house at around 7:10 a.m., depending on where they live. Those who opt for the later bus at 7:53 a.m. risk arriving to class late, as a morning without bus delays would only leave two minutes to spare before the last attendance bell. 

Analyzing the schedule of a Marin City commuter may be deemed fastidious. Yet, Marin City students, and any students who aren’t offered reliable transportation by Redwood, are left with no other option. Redwood should begin funding a school bus that transports students from Marin City, just as they do for the students of Tiburon and East Corte Madera. An increase in chartered buses at Redwood would both improve convenience and wellness for all students, regardless of their home address. 

Adding more chartered buses doesn’t just improve the schedule of students, but benefits Redwood as a whole by improving attendance. In fact, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health found that schools that offer reliable transportation to their students notice an increase in attendance. The department surveyed 15,000 Los Angeles students and found that not having access to transportation was a primary reason for their being late or absent. Therefore, a

dding another bus for students may help lower Redwood students’ rates of tardiness and absence.

According to California State Senate member Nancy Skinner, California is the state with the least amount of free school transportation to students, a fact that is evidently applicable to Redwood. Redwood encourages students to purchase Marin Transit Youth Passes, which typically cost $325 per year, an amount that is not feasible for many families. It is understandable that Redwood cannot offer free buses — like most necessities, school buses can be costly 

at a price of at least $80,000 annually. But, this is money that Redwood can have access to if they choose to take appropriate action. In June of 2022, Gavin Newsom passed a new, all-time high state budget of $308 billion, of which $170 billion is reserved for “transforming education.” According to Newsom’s website, this includes transportation to and from school. Proposition 98, originally passed in 1998, benefits from this new budget and includes the Home to School Transportation program. This program allows school districts to be reimbursed for 60 percent of transportation prices. Once a district creates a detailed plan, it must be approved and adopted by the board to qualify for reimbursement. By implementing and utilizing the Home to School Transportation program, Redwood would be able to spend a significantly smaller amount of money on transportation while beginning to offer reliable rides for more students.

All Redwood students deserve to be provided with reliable and convenient transportation, not just those who live in closer proximity to the school. In the past, Redwood students have pushed back against the lack of transportation to and from school. In 2015, Redwood tried to join Marin City bus riders with the Tiburon bus so they would be dropped off directly at Redwood. Ultimately, the system was unsuccessful due to the crowding on Tiburon buses, occasionally causing Redwood faculty to pick up Marin City students who couldn’t fit into the bus.

There has always been a need for more transportation at Redwood, but little to no action has been taken. The new grant of money is offering an opportunity for Redwood — it is time to support those who live outside of the district by providing a reliable ride to and from school.