Students have concerns about riding the bus to and from school


Adriana Flores

A homeless individual sleeping next to a crowd of people waiting to board the bus.

Transportation is essential to the lives of many; there’s a variety of ways to get from one place to another. Taking public transportation might be the only option for students who don’t have a different way to travel to their designated place. While some appear more clean and bearable, others can have several downsides: the location of the bus stop, the condition of it, or the people around it.  A majority of students rely on public transportation, MCHS students included. So what really makes buses and bus stops unsafe?

OCTA has several bus stops located all around Orange County, some in better conditions and locations than others. Anyone can board the bus, making it easy for “sketchy” people to hop on board and disturb the public, or possibly make a scene. “For more than 40 years, Orange County residents have relied on OCTA buses to safely get to work, school and fun destinations,” according to the octa website. At times, bus stops can have a homeless person sleeping on the bench provided for the public to sit while waiting, or there can be trash scattered all over the ground. These unsanitary conditions can make anyone feel grossed out or uncomfortable. There may also be occasions in which someone may be disturbing the public or making a person feel unsafe because of their behavior.

Sophomore Sandy Villalobos had her own insights on what she has been through when waiting for her bus to arrive. When asked the question whether the bus stops made her feel uncomfortable or unsafe, Villalobos said, “Yeah, cause in a way since it’s open to the public and not only to the school people you know, there are some people that just go there to hang out or like make it their personal space and they don’t really intend to go on the bus or anything, so sometimes they block your path and you don’t feel comfortable being there.” Although Villalobos has never found herself in a state of feeling unsafe, she said, “It has just been people asking me random questions, and I get really uncomfortable with random people talking to me. They weren’t really harassing me, but it was like constant asking even though they knew I didn’t want what they were offering me.”

Freshman Viviana Rivera had a few things to say about her time at the bus stops and on the bus. She mentioned she doesn’t really feel that safe at the bus stops. “When I’m on it yeah, not at the bus stops.” Rivera mentioned that she goes to a bus stop next to a tunnel that’s lonely and dark. She also said that when she goes to some bus stops it can be intimidating. “Some are lonely especially at night.” Rivera also said that people who smoke get on the bus and they can smell like the smoke. “A guy smoking went on the bus and smelled a lot,” she said.

OCTA bus drivers have their own situations that they go through, such situations relating to the homeless people of Santa Ana. A bus driver did not want to share his identity.  “The people around the area make it unsafe. Lots of homeless individuals make it difficult for people trying to ride the bus since they’re doing things they’re not supposed to do. Some with no intentions of riding the bus, stand around and block the path for those who want to reach their destination.” Bus stops are not owned by OCTA, but rather owned by the city. “I think the city needs to worry about providing surveillance for the people that are waiting for the bus, especially people that are young, it’s really unsafe for them, so they need to make the city aware of what’s going on,” the OCTA driver stated.

Do you feel safe on the bus?

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