The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

It is time to put an end to WA’s traffic nightmare

Katie McDermott
A traffic jam on Cold Spring Road.

Students who drive themselves, along with those who are driven to school, understand the struggles of getting to WA on time. You might leave your house thinking you have plenty of time to get to school, but then as you get closer to Westford Academy, you are met with long lines of cars no matter which direction you are coming from.

Finding the best way to get to school on time is becoming increasingly more difficult, which is why we need to find a solution to allow mornings to be a little less chaotic. Lowering the bus fees, pushing back the school’s start time, and making sure there are as little cars driving to school as possible will make mornings a lot less stressful.

There are many teachers and administrators who take time out of their mornings to direct the traffic and to ensure that cars are pulling into the parking lots in the most efficient and organized way to avoid accidents. Although this has had a positive impact, there are still other issues to be addressed.

One of the largest contributors to this chaos is the sheer amount of students that are now driven to school individually rather than through busses. A potential reason for this is that there is a relatively expensive bus fee for students who ride the bus, and people may not want to or are not able to afford the bus pass.

A bus pass costs $350 per student with a $850 family cap for three or more students. As outrageous as that might sound, if a family does not pay that fee before Aug. 1, then they will have to pay a late fee. The late fee will add $25 to the original $350 per student and the family cap will be $900 instead of $850. And if a student loses their bus pass, then they will also have to pay an additional $10 fee.

As a result of all of those fees, I am not surprised that we have many more students driving and being dropped off at school. So even though we are working to organize the parking and traffic pattern in the best way possible, there are so many drivers that it is almost impossible for it to move quickly.

I completely understand why parents have no interest in paying those fees, so I think it would be smart to lower the bus fee so more people will use it. Not only will that help the traffic, but it will ensure that the school is still making enough money to pay for the bus drivers, fuel and maintenance.

Students can also have an impact on making a change to this issue. If students can afford the bus pass, it would be helpful for them to utilize it, but if families can’t, then it would be smart to carpool with other drivers. The less cars on the road will not only help with the traffic, but it will also be environmentally friendly.

Another potential reason for the traffic is the school’s start time. The buses are expected to arrive at the school early enough so the students are not late. In order to account for the entirety of their bus route and potential traffic, most students are picked up before 7 a.m. Some have to be at the bus stop as early as 6:30 a.m. when school doesn’t even start until 7:35 a.m.

Many students have found this frustrating because not only do they have to get up much earlier, but they arrive at school much earlier as well. If you drive to school then you are able to get more sleep and leave home later, which is why most students would rather drive than take the bus, ultimately contributing to the traffic jam.

I think it is important to get to school early if you have to meet with a teacher or you just want to get ready for the school day. However, if the start time is later, then the buses will also come later and more people will be willing to take the bus because it won’t be as early.

This would not normally be a problem because of the organization that gets put into directing traffic, but as someone who gets driven to school every morning, I find that most of the time I am waiting in the long lines not knowing if I am going to make it to class on time. Because there are so many people driving to school, it is causing a great deal of traffic, and many students to be late. Overall, I think that the best options to fix all the traffic and morning chaos are to lower the bus pass cost and make the school start time later.

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