An education in transit

Riding the bus is fun. More fun than sitting in class anyway, according to Michaela Schoen, a student at Lawrence High School.

Schoen takes an employment readiness course taught by Janelle Whisler. Students in the class have had visits from Lawrence Transit staff, learned how to use the Transit Guide to find maps and schedules, and have taken several trips on the bus to practice their skills. Gaining experience with the bus system has led some students to try using public transportation outside of class.

“I took the bus last summer,” Schoen said. “It’s easy.”

Whisler feels that it’s an important skill to teach. “Learning how to ride the bus helps them develop a sense of independence they really need in order to mature,” she said.

During one practice ride, students forgot to pull the cord to indicate they were ready to get off the bus. Luckily, the bus driver was able to stop shortly after their missed stop.

“The bus driver helped us figure out where to get off,” said another student, Amy Gonce.

Once they learn how the system works, students appreciate that the bus is an option that can expand their opportunities.

“I think for the students I’ve had in class, a lot of them aren’t sure they can afford a car,” Whisler said. “Knowing they can still get a job and do leisure activities as young adults really validates them and gives them a sense of accomplishment.”