Aimee Edwards is currently studying for her A Levels and is going to university this September. She's interested in media and the arts, and enjoys writing about the issues that matter to her.
In the past few years, I have been a regular TFL customer. Every day I will travel to school between 8am and 8.45am, a busy time of day. I have three options to get to school: a special school service and two public service buses. My school day begins at 8.45, and those who arrive later than this will have to complete an hour's detention on that day.
I can’t deny, as a student it’s an essential service. It's free, and gets me where I need to go. I definitely take advantage of it. I have in the past had a few problems with getting to school in the mornings using these buses. I feel that there is a definite negative stereotype surrounding us young people, and it affects us when it comes to this kind of thing.
One issue I have experienced has been being allowed on a ‘public bus’ during this time of morning. I will travel to the bus station from my house using the first bus to arrive, which is completely fine. However, when I get to the station, things do change. There are usually a lot of students congregating in one small area of the bus station at this time of the morning, and some might find this intimidating.
Anyway, the issue, I, along with other students have been denied many times when attempting to get on a public bus. We are usually told that adults are priority and have to get on first, with community support officers holding us back discussing whether we should be let on the bus at all. Sometimes, we are told that these buses are for the members of the public only, and that we have to get on our school bus - there is not enough room on this bus to fit every student needing to get to school. Sometimes, the school bus is too full before it reaches the bus station, and it goes straight to school. We are then left not allowed to get on a public bus, waiting for a bus that doesn’t ever show up.
One other problem surrounding this is that we are not allowed to get on these public buses, but when a school bus comes, other members of the public freely walk on, without realising that it is a school service and it is not going all the way to where they need to go. This also fills up more space on the school bus as these are usually women with children and buggies. I have been told that the school bus is classed a public bus, which runs between the school and Hendon, for anyone to use, but why is it not the same the other way around? Why are we not allowed on any bus just as any other member of the public would be?
The school I go to is going through the process of opening a primary school, and mothers will need to get their young children to school, and some will not be able to drive and will have to use the bus services. They will be allowed to get on the school bus, as will every other student, but they will also be able to get on public buses with their children. Most have used the school bus so far, taking up a whole lot more space as some of their children are still in buggies. It is fine for them to use this bus, as they are part of the school, but I don’t understand why they can also use public buses when other students can’t.