When I was 14, I got a youth bus pass for my birthday. I got to see parts of Tacoma that I had never seen before, like Proctor and Old Town. I was free to go to the local library at will, without needing to ask my parents for a ride.
When I was a little older, I did Running Start at Tacoma Community College, where I took college classes for free. Thanks to frequent midday bus service, I was able to attend both high school and college classes each day. I wasn’t the only young person doing this. After calculus at TCC, I took Pierce Transit Route 1 to tutor kids in fractions at Jason Lee Middle School.
To help pay my tuition at the University of Washington Tacoma, I worked late nights and weekends at The News Tribune’s printing facility. The U-Pass, combined with Pierce Transit’s late-night bus service, got me to work and back home again and saved me the expense of gas and car repairs.
If Proposition 1 were to fail, I couldn’t see my younger self being able to do many of the things I had the opportunity to do. Midday and weekend service would vanish altogether, and buses wouldn’t run frequently enough or late enough in the evening to get home.
So when voting on Prop. 1, please think of my story and of how public transit helps put job and educational opportunities within the reach of kids from families who don’t have a lot of money.