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Shuttling Around

By: Sebastian Golden

Photo by Sophia Li

It’s 3:39 p.m. Students flood out of the school. The mob squeezes onto the Bay Trail, hundreds of students on the two-person-wide path. With this horde vying for just fifty seats on the shuttle, any competitive advantage is key. At the front of the pack, someone speeds up, walking slowly turning into running. Someone else starts running, and another, and another. Students are pushing and shoving others out of the way, running into one another, all to get an all-important shuttle seat. One question is on everyone’s mind: When will this madness end?

In the Oracle campus’ first days, many students found the shuttle situation exasperating.“Originally it was really hard to get on the shuttle to Belmont,” said freshman Alex Palmeter. “People would run and get trampled.” She added that “Since the stop has been moved it’s been better, but it’s still definitely really hard to get on if you don’t have priority passes.” Senior Sam Mostowfi had a similarly difficult experience: “I don’t take a morning shuttle because they don’t have space for me.”  While the shuttles have greatly improved many students’ commutes, many others feel left behind. How is d.tech dealing with this outcry for improvement?

So far, these transportation woes have had compounding effects. “If you have to walk to the Belmont station you’re most likely going to miss your train,” Palmeter said. “If you miss your train then you’re there for an hour. And that can make you miss other trains and buses. Once you get to where you’re trying to go it can basically add a few hours to your commute.”

But transporting d.tech students who live all around the Bay Area is an enormous task, according to d.tech Transitions Manager Lana Guernsey. “Our transit goal is to move between 50 [to] 60 percent of our student body,” she said. “We’re talking about trying to move 250 to 300 students in a really short period of time. The problem is the number of vehicles and the number of drivers that it takes to move that many students.”

Regional traffic makes the transportation headache even worse. “If traffic is flowing smoothly, we can get students here with just a few minutes to get to class,” Guernsey said. “[But] as soon as there’s a problem on 101, those buses are running late.”

Students have found the shuttle experience to be improving. Senior Ezra Graves noted “My shuttle experience has been nothing but great because I get out a period early and there’s no one on the shuttle and there’s always room and I don’t have to race for it. Because being a senior is wonderful. But I imagine that as a junior or an underclassman you’d be a little screwed”.

However, despite all the problems so far, things are looking up for d.tech’s transit troubles. According to Guernsey, the San Mateo Union High School district was “able to give us a second yellow school bus.” She said “We used to have a lot of students on the Millbrae waiting list who really needed the shuttle from there. Once we got the third bus ride it really helped.”

While everything has yet to be perfected, the d.tech staff is working to create the best solution possible for all students to find a way to and from school.

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