Crusaders Catch the Bus
Matthew Martinez ‘19
To what lengths would you travel for your Strake Jesuit education? SJ students come from all over town and some of them make quite the commute just to get to and from school everyday. But what do you do when you can’t drive and both your parents have to work? Well, if you want to get to school, you better buy a bus card.
Some of us may have taken the bus in elementary school and associated it with fond childhood memories. But I can assure you from experience that Bellaire transit is quite different from any yellow school bus you’ve ever taken in the past. Seeing that public transportation is a daily odyssey, with a social adventure at every stop. It is a mad dash between rides to get to the right stop on time. Failure to do so means your day just got a little longer. I sat down with Matthew Dao ‘19 and Joshua Herrera ’19, two Metro regulars, to get the inside scoop on commuting to school by city bus.
In my meeting with Matthew and Josh, they made it clear that the greatest hassle that comes with riding the bus is managing time. When I inquired about their schedule Joshua explained, “I wake up at 5:20 AM. every morning, it takes me about an hour and a half to an hour and forty-five minutes to get to school every day.” Both boys come from the same part of town, so they have a similar route. Most days they take two busses to get to school and back. “I have tennis practice that ends at 4:45 and then a two hour bus ride home, then I have to wake up at 5:00-5:15 AM, it’s hard to manage a sleep to homework ratio,” said Matthew Dao when I asked how he manages a SJ workload and a long commute home. You may think a long bus ride means time to do school work, but conditions don’t exactly lend themselves to studying. For one, these guys are exhausted half the time they’re on the bus, brains fried from waking up early and a long day of school plus extracurriculars (which they both take part in). Oftentimes they struggle just to stay awake so they can get off at the right stop. Not to mention one must be very cautious when it comes to what you take out on the public city bus. Some busses are small and crowded so belongings can and will easily get lost or stolen.
The city bus has a wide range of passengers. Here and there you may find a few shady characters. Without being too quick to judge, it’s good to be alert. “It is dangerous to some extent–it’s not like you’ll get taken, but you have people who always ask you for money and waiting at bus stops can be dangerous–you’ve got to be vigilant,” said Joshua. From the stories I heard it’s safe to say that the influence of drugs and alcohol are strongly present at some of these stops. The city bus crowd would definitely put most SJ students out of their element, but for Josh and Matthew it’s just another day of commuting to school.
Finally I asked if there was any advantage to riding Metro. Matthew Dao ’19 was quick to say, “Literally none.” Joshua said, “There is little advantage…it’s a bit cheaper than driving and better for the earth (carbon dioxide emissions) but it sucks overall”. Then I asked them if they thought their long commute was worth the school they go to. Their responses were synonymous, “Of course it’s worth it.” Despite the long drive, the lack of sleep, and the somewhat sketchy ambiance, the privilege to attend Strake Jesuit is all worth it in the end.