The Ride to School

Taking the bus can be time consuming, but that will be changing in 2024 after the recently passed bus millage is in effect.


Many students at Community rely on mass transit to get to and from school, whether that be in the form of Ann Arbor Area Transport Authority (AAATA)’s TheRide or through the school’s bus system. Buses can offer students an alternative to driving, which is the primary way most students commute.

Christopher Van Lent, a senior here at Community, takes TheRide to school and the school buses back home. One of the reasons he chooses to ride the bus is to avoid the headache of finding a parking space in the Community parking lot.  

“I wouldn’t call it enjoyable, but I do think it can be relaxing to not have to drive,” Van Lent said. “It can be less stressful to not have to try to find parking.”

AAATA has two main hubs: Blake Transit Center in downtown Ann Arbor and the other centrally located in Ypsilanti. An extensive network of bus routes extends throughout the cities as well as between them. Blake Transit Center sits just a short walk from Community, making getting to and from school simple. 

To take TheRide students have to pay a fare of 75 cents.  To help students, the school provides bus passes that allow them to ride for free.  Joann Constantinides works in the main office at Community, and is one of the people in charge of distributing the passes.  

It’s actually pretty straightforward [to get a pass]” Contantinides said, “you can come in and ask for one, and it’s really nice if you’re polite.”  Over 100 students have taken advantage of the free bus passes.  There are limitations to the passes though, they can only be used during the school week.  

However, the AAATA network does not extend to all of Washtenaw County, meaning that students who live out of the reach of TheRide have to drive or take a school bus. To take one of the school buses to Community, students must first ride to their home high school before transferring to a second bus that takes them to Community. This procedure adds time to students’ commute and can be a hassle. 

Hopefully, in the future, more students will be able to take TheRide. On Aug. 4, voters in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti approved AAATA’s millage request by a wide margin, with 61 percent of citizens in favor.  The millage will increase funding by 340 percent, allowing AAATA to improve its service. This will include an increase in frequency, extended service hours into the night for both weekdays and weekends and zero-emission buses.

“Only waiting 10 minutes [for a bus] would be much nicer,” Van Lent said. “I think [the changes] would be very helpful.” Unfortunately, none of these changes will be implemented until 2024. But the effects of an updated bus system will improve the lives all students who travel on the bus.