Friday, December 31, 2010

let's fix this now: transportation for education in Providence

Please take a moment right now, today, this minute, to read Youth4Change Alliance's recent blog post, "Why Winter is a Nightmare for Providence Youth and How You Can Help." The deal is this: because high school students don't qualify for the school bus unless they live more than 3 miles from their high school, most high school students need to use RIPTA to get to school, and there's no reduced fare for youth. Without it, it's prohibitively expensive for many kids to take the bus, so at this time of year, kids need to face real freezing misery as they walk. That's an obstacle that's clearly keeping many young people from getting to school on time or at all. Unacceptable. This has got to change. We can fix it.

Now take another moment to vote here for Youth4Change's proposal to launch an advocacy campaign for accessible transportation for young people to get to school. Voting ends tomorrow, 1/1! You can also text your vote. Text 104586 to 73774. Do it now.

For those of us who were not clued into this challenge because we don't have high school age kids and/or were otherwise not focused on this issue, Youth4Change's transportation for education initiative is a jolting wake-up call. As we work toward improving schools, we face many ugly, thorny problems. This is not one of them, so do your part now, by voting in the Pepsi Challenge to fund the campaign to raise public awareness. Spread the word--get everyone you know to vote. And keep this issue on your radar as we move through awareness of the issue toward discussion and implementation of a solution so that all Providence students have access to their schools.

Should for some reason need more convincing, this video should do the trick.

And a final final note: I am not taking the time right now to drill down into the public transportation systems of a good-sized sample of cities in the United States to validate my hunch that most offer youth fares. However, I'll share that the first 5 cities I thought of and checked on do indeed offer discounted fares in one form or another for youth (the first 5 cities my brain lit on: San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, New York City, Miami). If you take a couple of cities and find out what the situation is there, post what you find in the comments. Not that we should need examples of how most other places have figured out how to deal with this most basic need to know that fixing it ASAP is the only option.

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