City buses should be free for students

The equality vs. equity argument has been a debatable topic in the USA for a while. Whether it’s pertaining to generational wealth, other financial factors, or something else— specifically transportation for children. Since my freshman year at University High School, Hartford kids have had to take the city bus and it’s always been of no cost to us—up until this year.

This year school buses for inner city kids have been arranged. I myself am a school bus taker, but I have a lot of friends who take the city bus for its convenience and accessibility. With the addition of school buses for inner city kids, there has been some talk about eliminating free city buses. And I’m here to tell you exactly why that would be a disservice to the youth who live in Hartford and go to UHSSE or any other local high school.

In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of high school (besides education) are the extracurriculars. UHSSE offers a broad variety of activities, such as robotics, basketball and even Saturday school for students who need extra help. If you or your parents have access to a car it is easy to participate in one, or even all of these activities.

But if you don’t have access to a car you simply cannot. Many, if not most, of Hartford’s children have parents who work a second or even third shift job or only own one car, which means that Hartford kids have no transportation to extracurriculars, which ultimately excludes them from being able to join.

Therefore, by taking away inner city children’s access to free city buses, you are limiting their access to extracurriculars. For a lot of students, sports is what keeps them in school. A school bus only takes a student from school to home, leaving the student with no way of getting to basketball practice, or to Saturday school so they can improve their academic performance.

It would be very equitable to provide free city bus passes for Hartford students because it provides them with a method of transportation that allows them to participate not only in school but in all of its extracurriculars as well.

It can be argued that it is not the school system’s job to make sure children have access to extracurriculars. But I would argue that it is. Hartford Public System has a duty to fulfill, that duty being that every child has an equal opportunity for success.

With access to free citywide transportation, Hartford students are more likely to participate in school and extracurriculars and gain a better education overall. To continue to provide access to free city bus passes for Hartford high schoolers is to ensure that a fair, equal opportunity for success is afforded to all students.