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Taking the Bus Leads to Unwanted Adventure

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Taking the Bus Leads to Unwanted Adventure

Michelle Martinez riding the bus after school is glad that the bus isn’t full. Photo taken at 4:40 p.m. Dec. 3, 2018.

Michelle Martinez riding the bus after school is glad that the bus isn’t full. Photo taken at 4:40 p.m. Dec. 3, 2018.

Courtesy of Yahir Martinez

Michelle Martinez riding the bus after school is glad that the bus isn’t full. Photo taken at 4:40 p.m. Dec. 3, 2018.

Courtesy of Yahir Martinez

Courtesy of Yahir Martinez

Michelle Martinez riding the bus after school is glad that the bus isn’t full. Photo taken at 4:40 p.m. Dec. 3, 2018.

Laura Horta and Alexa Penaloza

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Students who ride OCTA (Orange County Transportation Authority) buses are all too familiar with a packed and crowded bus on their way to school.

Hundreds of Godinez Fundamental High School students take routes down Edinger and Fairview Streets to and from Godinez, which creates massive overcrowding.

Students get on the morning bus anywhere from 6:30-7:30 a.m. No matter how early GFHS students get on the bus, it’s  packed.

The Route 70, is full of Godinez students before and after school. In the mornings, students from Carr Intermediate and Valley High School contribute to overcrowded buses.

After school, students usually wait for the bus on the stop next to Centennial Park. The bus drivers typically understand that students are just getting out of school and wait a few minutes for more students to arrive. But there are occasions when the bus is loading students and a second bus drives past without bothering to make a stop.

The OCTA operations group responded to our questions through an email. OCTA said there is a frequency of 15 minutes between each bus that “allow(s) passengers enough flexibility” to get from place to place. Although this is in effect, many buses choose to skip stops when they see a bus already there which eventually leads to overcrowding.

I know the bus drivers are just doing their job, but with so many students and strangers they can easily get distracted by the commotion and an accident can happen.”

— Michelle Martinez

In order to load many students in one bus, bus drivers typically ask passengers to move back. Although most passengers attempt to comply, there are a few who refuse to acknowledge the issue and respond with snarky comments.

The invasion of personal space is always there. The sudden and abrupt stops from a vehicle filled with more passengers than it can hold only calls for disaster. Holding on to a flimsy strap does not do much to help the situation.

Senior, Michelle Martinez, falls victim to this horrid matter every day. Martinez wakes up at 6:00 a.m in order to catch the route 70 bus at Standard and Edinger. Martinez leaves her house around 6:30 a.m and begins her walk to the bus stop to catch the bus at 6:50 a.m. Martinez then arrives at school at 7:15 a.m. It’s a challenge for her to get to the school on time and even when she does, “The bus gets full and there’s a chance that I have to wait for the next one.”

From her many rides on the bus, Martinez said, “ I feel tense because so many strangers rub against each other to get to one end of the bus when there is no more room left. It feels claustrophobic most of the times. I feel lucky if I find a seat.”

Safety is nonexistent when the bus is full of students. “I know the bus drivers are just doing their job, but with so many students and strangers they can easily get distracted by the commotion and an accident can happen,” said Martinez.

Senior, Yesenia Popoca, has been dealing with the transportation issue since freshman year and is all too familiar with Martinez’s experiences.

There are times that I get to school late cause if I miss one bus, I miss the other one too.”

— Yesenia Popoca

Popoca lives far from school and must take two buses starting at 6:30 a.m which is a major struggle for her. Popoca said, “We wait for the next bus and then that bus is full and you have to wait. There are times that I get to school late cause if I miss one bus, I miss the other one too,” said Popoca.

When boarding her second bus she either takes routes 70 or 47 to get to school. While waiting for her connection, the bus drivers usually tell her, “Bus is full” and proceed to drive away with Popoca wondering if she will arrive to school on time.

Her first bus in the morning is not a problem, yet the second bus is most likely full. In order to ensure Popoca gets to school on time, she chooses to walk 26 minutes from where McFadden and Fairview Street meet.

Some students in sports or after school activities take the bus home. Yet, around this time there are many strangers.

Popoca is a cheerleader who has practices ending after sunset and still has to take the bus home. By the time she reaches the bus stop, there are only strangers.

One incident she recalls, “ A guy tried to talk to me. He saw my name tag on my cheer bag, and kept saying he knew who I was, and saying many things about me. I had to call my parents to pick me up at my stop. He then got off at the same stop as me.”

She continued, “I finish cheer practice, and I have my practice clothes on, and when I go to the bus stop, I don’t feel safe. I know if I go, there are going to be perverted guys trying to talk to me.”

Freshman, Rafael Orozco has begun his journey taking the bus to school this year. Although Orozco only takes the bus on late starts and when practice finishes late, there are struggles he endures.

Like Popoca, Orozco has had to stay after school for practice and take the bus home. Taking a crowded bus home on the afternoons, feeling uncomfortable and his personal space invaded is a sacrifice he must make.

Laura Horta
Students leaving the morning bus on route 70 at 7:30 on Nov. 8, 2018.

Late start is usually the hardest for students to get to the bus. Now with the new rule of getting automatic detention, they try to find a way to arrive at school. This ranges from finding someone to give them a ride, getting the early bus, or not going to school.

Martinez and Popoca take their regular time buses on late start in order for them not to arrive at school late. For many, late start is nonexistent.

During our investigation, we found issues with constant overcrowding on buses going to from Godinez, but OCTA does not. OCTA claims to regularly monitor and found that their “data indicates that there are no overcrowding issues on Routes 70 and 47,” and  “buses are designed to safely allow standing passengers.”

As GFHS students take the bus, they are upset and do not complain because their transportation situation has always been the same, cramped and uncomfortable.  

Martinez hopes that one day the crowd will die down, but is glad that she won’t have to deal with this problem once she graduates.


12 Responses to “Taking the Bus Leads to Unwanted Adventure”

  1. Nicholas Medrano on January 29th, 2019 6:08 pm

    Sometimes I feel that this bus fiasco might not be able to be solved but I think it is rather feasible that the city should try to come up with jurisdiction to this problem, such as creating more buses or possibly extending the length of the buses we already have.

  2. Marilyn on January 29th, 2019 7:05 pm

    I can relate so much to this article. I have to wake up at 6:30 a.m. to get to school around 7:30 a.m. If I miss my first bus, then I’m already late and if I miss my second bus, I have to go walking. Sometimes it’s infeasible to make it to school on time. It’s even worse when the bus is too full. Most bus drivers don’t even bother to quell, so by the time the next bus arrives, it’s already twice as full and it makes a bigger fiasco for the students and the driver.

  3. Robert Andaluz on January 29th, 2019 9:01 pm

    To start off, I thought this article was amazing. The article made me aware of what’s going on around me. I love how the reporter captured what the 3 students were feeling. I felt for them and that happening when I read is really great. It gives me a reason to keep on reading and staying hooked on. I personally have not taken the bus. I am very lucky to have a neighbor who gives me a ride almost every day. I see nothing wrong with taking the bus because lots of my friends take the bus home and back to Godinez. I have actually had days where I could’ve taken the bus after a late practice, but I haven’t YET. Finally, I would like to say in paragraph 23 is states, “For many, late start is nonexistent.”. I see this quote as a very powerful message as it tells you some students who take buses don’t ever have that 1 hour of extra sleep and a late start Monday is just a regular Monday.

  4. Sally Khuu on January 30th, 2019 12:20 am

    Students, such as myself, with more convenient and comfortable forms of transportation, such as cars, often take this privilege for granted. I am distraught that there are students that must tolerate taking overcrowded buses every day with the chance of encountering perverted strangers. On top of that, these students must wake up early to catch the bus with the possibility of being late simply because the bus was too crowded. Because I don’t often take the bus, I construed that taking buses seemed fun since you had company. However, after this article, I feel I should eschew from buses when possible.

  5. Bryan De La puente on January 30th, 2019 7:36 am

    I feel bad for the students that have to take that bus at those times due to people being harassed on the bus. People should be able to be confidant on the bus and not scared and uncomfortable. I think it’s unfair that the people have to feel dubious when riding the bus

  6. Anthony Arzate on January 30th, 2019 7:36 am

    For both of the seniors, they had to adapt preciously to getting on the bus and getting off of it. In the article, it was speaking about how packed the bus and knowing from experience once the bus is full it is implacable to stop and me going on the 47 bus down Fairview to get to school there is hardly any space to move and rare to find a seat. It is rare to see someone harass another person on the bus I remember this one time when I was going to a party and I saw this middle age man bothering this woman for what she wore but for the most part he stopped and the lady got off and I got off another stop before her.

  7. Leah Perez on January 30th, 2019 7:50 am

    Although it’s feasible that accidents can happen on the bus, I don’t think the bus drivers can sally everyday to make more bus stops in the morning. It may cause consternation.

  8. Jonathan on January 30th, 2019 7:50 am

    I am a person who occasionally takes the bus because i feel that it saves more time. Ever since I was little I would take the bus with my mom. I think because of her I feel more confident using the bus. I don’t buy the passes. I only pay 2 dollars because I usually just take 1 bus to get to my destination. I have never seen any people harras any other people since I started riding it when I was a kid. In my opinion, I think more people should use the bus.

  9. Julian Perez on January 30th, 2019 8:12 am

    I hate taking the bus to school; I feel like I can relate to these students. I would also feel the Consternation of having to take the bus due to being anxious about the dangers that could occur. I can relate to the student talking about Perverse actions that could have occurred when the guy was trying to talk to her. I believe the bus drivers gave a perfunctory amount of work due to her being paid minimum wage. An option for me Is i take uber instead of the bus.

  10. Julian Perez on January 30th, 2019 8:58 am

    I can relate to the student talking about the CONSTERNATION they felt when taking the bus because you are surrounded with strangers. I belive the Bus driver does a Perfunctory job because they could try to make more stops to help overcrowding. When the girl was talking about the Stranger who was being quite perverse, I felt I could relate to her situation because you dont know if there are any criminals or perverts in the bus your riding in.

  11. Y. C. on January 30th, 2019 12:36 pm

    I can agree to a turbulent amount with this article. This article clearly communicates how it feels like to take the bus and some of the struggles that taking the bus can come with. As a child, it even felt like other kids would flout how their parents could pick them up and how it was embarrassing to take the bus. Overall, this was a nice read and I myself am glad that
    I can relate to it.

  12. Maria Mendoza on January 30th, 2019 8:38 pm

    I can relate to these girls because I as well take the bus to and from school. Having to take the bus every day is a hustle. Especially when you take it after school in the late afternoon there tends to be a lot of indigent people in the bus stops. When taking the bus after school there’s a complete fiasco and a lot of consternation between the student. This really affects everyone else and the bus driver.

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Taking the Bus Leads to Unwanted Adventure