Grizzly Gazette

Taking the Bus Leads to Unwanted Adventure

Michelle+Martinez+riding+the+bus+after+school+is+glad+that+the+bus+isn%E2%80%99t+full.+Photo+taken+at+4%3A40+p.m.+Dec.+3%2C+2018.
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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.

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Taking the Bus Leads to Unwanted Adventure