As a teenager, transportation isn’t always easy. Few families have an extra car or enough money to cover the added expenses that come along with teen driving. Plus, there’s the safety aspect of putting young people on the road.
Fortunately, families in the Twin Cities have another option: Twin Transit. “Many local teens already ride the city bus,” said Twin Transit Community Relations Director Andrea Culletto, “but as we’ve done transit training at local schools, we’ve discovered there are many more students who would like the freedom of riding the bus but who lack the funds to cover a pass.”
Twin Transit has partnered with Centralia High School, W.F. West, Futurus High School, Lewis County Alternative School / Turning Point, and Chehalis Middle School to create a new Student Bus Pass Program. “We believe transportation should never stand in the way of a young person getting that afterschool job, being able to start an internship, benefit from higher education, or access our community amenities,” Culletto says.
Now an unlimited student bus pass is only $10 for an entire semester. Plus, the spring pass lasts through the summer, so local teens can go out and enjoy all the fun things our community has to offer instead of being stuck at home, bored and unsupervised. “Kids want to go to friends’ houses, the pool, the Boys and Girls Club, library activities and more,” Culletto says, “which is where we want them to go – safe, enriching places.”
CHS, CMS, Futurus and Turning Point students can purchase a Student Bus Pass at their main school office and W.F. West students can get theirs at the ASB office. “Both school districts have been awesome about implementing this program,” says Culletto. “They’ve been easy to work with and are excited about offering this benefit to their students.”
The Student Bus Pass program also eases the financial burden of local school districts who purchase bus passes for kids in need. “The Student Bus Pass Program gives the schools more bandwidth with those dollars,” Culletto says. “It’s a win for everyone.”
The Student Bus Pass Program complements Twin Transit’s longstanding partnership with Centralia College, which provides CC students bus passes to get around town. “Now kids going to Centralia Beauty College will also have an affordable transportation option to help them take those extra steps toward higher education,” Culletto says. “Nobody should be held back from their educational goals because transportation is an issue. That should never happen.”
Learning to use public transit also offers other benefits. When kids learn how to navigate local transit, it gives them the tools to use public transit in bigger cities and around the world. “This life skill pays dividends forever,” Culletto says. “Knowing how to navigate the world gives kids confidence that they can go where they need to go and do what they need to do to accomplish their goals.”
Twin Transit drivers make it easy for kids to use the system. “Many of our drivers have extensive experience with kids from their time driving yellow school buses,” Culletto says. “They’re good at keeping an eye on things. If kids have questions, they can always ask the driver and they will help them.”
Twin Transit supports students at every level of their educational journey. “These kids have big goals and dreams,” Culletto says. “We want them to have everything they need to go, do and use all that enthusiasm! Plus our community has a lot of cool stuff to offer, so go enjoy it.”