Taking the Bus
The moment school gets out, students stream to the parking lot or bike cages, but one other option often gets overlooked: the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) bus system. The VTA bus system is both convenient and accessible—any student can take the bus on any given day. Taking the bus is simply the best option to get to and from school, with its pay-to-go format and ease of access for students.
Taking the VTA offers convenient payment methods in swiping Clipper cards or paying with cash or coins. Payment for a one-stop ride is $1.25 for those under the age of 18. The best deal comes from the Student Activities Center, where the monthly Gunn Bus Pass is only $20. Just wave the bus pass at the bus driver, and you are on your way. Purchasing this pass is cost-effective for the regular user, and prevents any fumbling for a wad of cash or maybe a stack of coins.
Some may argue that the bus requires a fee to be paid regularly, making it more costly than biking or driving. However, the reality is that other modes of transportation can be every bit as pricey. Driving a car requires great expense. Indirect expenses may include car payments, insurance and gas price fluctuation in the economy. According to a 2022 survey conducted by CarInsurance.com, adding a teenager to a car insurance policy can cost as much as $3798 annually. Sure, biking to school does not require an outlay of cash, but the reliability of a bike may be dependent on the weather, maintenance or the condition of the bike or biker.
The most appealing aspect of taking the bus is the accessibility. Since the bus stop is so close to school, it’s never inconvenient. There are three buses that transport students: 288, 288M and 288L. Each has its own unique bus route across Palo Alto. If you look for a bus stop near your home, you will likely find a route that takes you directly to Gunn. On the off chance that your bus doesn’t arrive, taking one of the other two options could bring you close to your original destination, whether it be the school, your home or an after-school activity.
In comparison to biking and driving, the flexibility of being able to take the bus can be a universal solution. Paying $1.25 a day is the perfect solution for a student who can’t use a car or bike on a stormy day.
With both a user-oriented payment format and convenient bus routes, taking the bus proves to be the best option for transportation for all students.