With the arrival of summer, County Connection once again is offering its Summer Youth Passes for youth ages 6 to 18 years old. This special also allows two or more children to use the same pass making it even more convenient for budget conscious families. County Connection has a long history of serving the youth in our area.
After the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, most school districts in California responded by reducing yellow school bus services. This was one of the more popular ways for school districts to manage the declining tax revenues associated with Proposition 13. School districts in Contra Costa County were among those that took this path.
However, students still needed transportation to and from school throughout the County Connection service area. Thus, County Connection became a popular transportation option for many students. On a typical school day, nearly 2,000 youth use County Connection for travel to or from school.
It is worth noting that providing this service was one of the main drivers behind the effort to create County Connection in 1980.
A Mutually Beneficial Relationship
To further facilitate this service, County Connection has well established working relationships with all the school districts and schools within our service area. This helps us to provide smooth, efficient, and safe transportation for many students in our area. In addition, most schools do a great job of marketing our services to their surrounding communities, which is beneficial to us, as it leads to additional County Connection usage beyond students going to school.
This just another example of how our partnering with the community is so vital to what we do at County Connection. Ultimately, it’s the public that benefits from these partnerships.
County Connection bus services geared toward students is not the same, however as a typical yellow school bus service. In fact, the school districts have actually little say in how we operate these services. In providing services that are used by students, County Connection has to adhere to some seemingly routine, but interesting federal regulations that most people are not aware of.
In short, federal law forbids public transit operators, like County Connection, from operating direct school bus service. That means that we cannot operate on school property, that any and all services we offer must be available to anyone – not just the students going to a school, and that any service that serves a bus stop next to a school must also serve all other bus stops along that route.
What we can do is tailor schedules to school bell times and adjust routing to some degree. The partnering with the schools also includes regular communications of various bell times and things like early outs, well in advance of each school year.
So, while we don’t operate school bus service per se, we do operate service that is very useful for many students to go to and from school. This is gratifying for us to offer, and a service for which parents are very thankful.