Apollo says that he is grateful for the transit options Community Transit provides because they have helped him get to his school district’s STEM program, which emphasizes classes in science, technology, engineering and math.
Ride free with a Youth ORCA card.
Save on gas and parking.
Connect to light rail and other regional transit options.
Community Transit helps youth riders like Apollo have the independence to travel from place to place.
While public schools provide buses for students to their neighborhood schools, sometimes taking a school bus isn’t an option. For Apollo, who participates in his district’s STEM magnet program, that has meant he has had to figure out how to get to school without a nearby school bus or car to take him there.
Apollo’s free Youth ORCA card made taking the bus easy. Youth ride free when they use ORCA, and it can be used on the bus, Zip Alderwood Shuttle, light rail, train, ferry, and more. ORCA works for all seven of the major public transportation agencies serving King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties.
“Math and computer science are some of my favorite subjects. I was excited to attend the STEM program when I learned that it was an option. But I wasn’t sure how I’d get there each day. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to make it work before I looked into taking public transit,” he says.
“I was 14 when I started high school — too young to drive. The program was at a different school in my district than my neighborhood school. It was a 15-minute drive from my house at the time — too far to walk.”
Taking the bus was a free and convenient option with his free Youth ORCA card. And using Community Transit’s trip-planning tools made figuring out how to get there easy.
“My family moved from Bothell to Edmonds my sophomore year — we were in the same school district, so I didn’t have to switch schools. But I still had to figure out how to get to Mountlake Terrace each day without a car or school bus. Plan My Trip made it easy for me to find the best route,” he says.
Apollo, who is captain of the robotics team at his school, says it has also been helpful to have a free Youth ORCA card when he needs to get to extracurricular activities.
“I have younger siblings, and sometimes my parents couldn’t take us to all of our activities when they were at the same time. It was always helpful to know taking the bus was an option. I never felt stranded as long as I had my ORCA card on me.”
Taking transit continues to be a favorite way for Apollo to get around.
“Now that I have my license, I sometimes drive myself instead of taking the bus, but I still ride the bus and light rail pretty regularly,” he says. “I don’t like paying for parking or driving when there is lots of traffic, so I will catch the bus at a park & ride and then connect to light rail when I want to go downtown” he says. “It’s free and I save a ton on gas.”
Apollo encourages other teens who are new to transit to bring a friend for that first trip. “A few of my buddies rode with me when I first started taking the bus. That made it less intimidating. Plus, if you are 16 when you first get your driver’s license, you’re restricted from driving other teens. When we take the bus or light rail, my friends and I can ride together so it’s more fun. And it’s free — can’t beat that!”