The city of Dayton and the Dayton Regional Transit Authority (RTA) have announced they’re extending the hours for student bus passes. Student bus passes have only been good through 4:30pm; now a $30 monthly pass will last until 5pm, and the $40 pass will be good through 7pm on weekdays.
The city has found transportation is a problem for a lot of kids who want to participate in tutoring and other after-school activities.
“Usually my mom takes me to here or there but recently she’s been working more, so I have to rely on the bus, and this will help, I won’t have to pay that extra dollar seventy-five,” says Chico Rucker, a Belmont High School student who plays soccer, does ROTC and logs thousands of hours of community service.
Mayor Nan Whaley says when her City of Learners committee held listening sessions around the city this spring, it became clear that getting students home from extracurricular activities is a major barrier for working parents.
“It basically came up from like every parent,” says Whaley. “If a parent was there, they would talk about transportation being an issue.”
The city approached RTA, which agreed to change the hours at no cost. Whaley says charter, public and private school attendees had similar concerns about transportation, but she heard the concern particularly strongly from immigrant families eager to keep their kids in after school programs.
Families that can’t afford the passes at all may still be at a loss; RTA offers an assistance program, but it’s only for people who are underemployed and seeking work.
City of Learners has been one of Mayor Whaley’s major focal points since she took office in January. The project so far has assembled a committee of fifty community members and leaders, and held a series of 11 public listening sessions in neighborhoods around the city to hear concerns from families, community members and advocates. The committee has identified five focus areas, which include increasing the availability of mentors for students, and expanding sites for afterschool and summer education.
Lewis Wallace is WYSO's economics reporter and substitute morning host. Follow him @lewispants.