Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Personal Teen Story on why $20 Congestion Reduction Charge Matters

By Jasmine Beverly (TCC Summer Intern)

I’m not a stereotypical high school girl. I don’t go to high school dances, I have to be dragged to shop for clothes, and I’d rather spend time with my family than go out with friends. I’m seventeen and I don’t even have my permit or license yet. That’s right, a high school girl without a driver’s permit or license. Reading this story anywhere else, you’d think “Ooh, she lives in the middle of nowhere and is a little farm girl,” or “What a deprived teenager she must be! Living without a car?” or “She must be the nerdy outcast who doesn’t have any friends.” And although I’m a choir nerd, neither of those statements is true; I simply live in Seattle where public transportation is amazing. Well, for now it is.

I use the bus for everything. I take it to and from school, to the store to buy groceries, to friend’s houses, and even to visit family members. What’s the point of spending money for driver’s ed classes and gas when I can just hop on a bus? Seattle Public Schools gives high school students (with some exceptions) Orca cards. Not only do the cards have King County Metro youth passes, but this past year, they came with Sound Transit Business Passports. That enables us to right light rail or the Sounder around the city and even outside of it free of charge. It was nice for me because I was able to ride around Seattle and also visit my dad and his family in Puyallup. No more 45 minute car rides with younger sisters stuck in traffic. Just a nice, air conditioned train with free wifi and peace and quiet.

Now wait a second, what happens if Metro cuts 17% of their bus service? Let’s see, getting anywhere would take twice as long as it does now. Maybe even three times as long. If there are less buses on the road, that means more cars. And more cars mean traffic will be horrendous. So... Less buses + more cars + the same amount of people = what? This isn’t that hard of a decision to make, people. The $20 Congestion Reduction Charge needs to be implemented. There’s no way that more cars on the road can be a good thing, ever. But let’s just make life harder for people in Washington the next couple of years. Let’s force teenagers to conform to the stereotypes and buy cars, work at fast food restaurants to pay for gas, and congest the roads that much more.

I honestly can’t imagine how anyone could disagree with this. That’s just me though. The nerdy choir high school kid.


  1. I strongly agree, and I'm a grandma-age lifelong Seattle resident who frequently tells people "it's easier to get there on the bus." Another argument for a modest $20 fee is what happens when transit is curtailed, as is happening in Snohomish County: my niece has to either buy a car she can't afford, or give up her job because of the transit cutbacks.