A Summer Bus Route Just For Kids

kids using public transportation

If only she had access to public transportation she could use on her own in our hometown.

Just on the heels of my post about unaccompanied minors, and how we might make the towns and cities we live here in the US more accessible for kids to get around without always relying on adults, I came across this:

Nashua Announces Summer Recreation Bus Route

The city of Nashua, New Hampshire is operating a pilot transportation program this summer aimed at providing free public transportation to various recreational spots around the city. Kids ages 6-18 whose parents register them for a free bus pass can ride the bus to places like the park, ball fields, the pool, the library, and the Boys and Girls Club. They can go to the skate park, meet friends at the pool, visit the library to play Dungeons and Dragons or take a soldering class. Dang, I want to be a kid in Nashua, NH!

While it specifies that children under 10 can’t ride the bus alone, they are allowed to ride with someone over 10. I’m so envious! If we had a service like this in my town, I could send Elena and Eli to the library on their own. It’s these kinds of interactions – learning how to use public transportation, learning bus/train etiquette and manners, going on errands solo and interacting with librarians, shop owners, and other adults – that build a solid foundation for knowing how to be an independent, fully-functional adult. How forward thinking of Nashua to realize that by providing a service like the recreational bus route, they are giving kids a safe, age-appropriate stepping stone to be able to handle adult responsibilities later in life. It solves a myriad of problems, such as boredom, and dependence on cars and adults to go where they want, while also empowering kids and boosting their confidence.

Nashua’s town slogan just happens to be “Dare to Begin.” How appropriate, as providing this bus service aimed at youth they seem to be saying, “Let’s dare to begin treating our kids as capable individuals, instead of keeping them in a bubble and fearing the worst.”

Would you welcome a service like this in your hometown?

(A link to the Nashua Summer Recreation Bus Route first appeared on the Free Range Kids blog. You can read Lenore’s take on the service here.)

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Comments

  1. I LOVE THIS IDEA. I would be all over this if I were a parent in Nashua, NH.

    The pamphlet is great too — it tells kids what to have packed with them and parents that they’re ultimately responsible for their own children (which, I hope, fosters responsibility in the children). I like that the registration process means parents know that their kids will be doing this & are giving their consent. And it’s helpful that the pamphlet gives participants information about the various organizations at the stops.

    I spent my summers biking around a sleepy town — running errands, reading at library, going to the beach (not usually alone but it would’ve been allowed) — with no one concerned about my minute-to-minute whereabouts. And I am an only child, so it’s not like I was neglected as part of a bunch. I was highly monitored in so many ways but being chained to home wasn’t one of them. I wish kids today had that freedom without their parents being worried about going to jail.

    P.S. You know Elena hates that photo. COME ON, MOM.