A Summertime Bus for Kids to the Pool and Library?

Let’s hear it for Nashua, NH, a child-friendly city indeed!  Take note, all ye urbanists, city planners, and mayors: Look at how simple a summer-changing, childhood changing idea can be. Nashua is giving kids the gift of transit — and trust. According to the Nashua Patch:

The city of Nashua will launch a summer recreation route bus service that will run from July 7 to Aug. 22.

The pilot program will stop at at popular sites in the city in a continuous loop from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The service is free for all school-aged children (6 to 18 years old) that register and the city will provide a bus monitor to ensure rider safety.View the recreation route bus map.

A city trolley equipped with a bike rack will be used for the recreation route and included in the loop are: Greeley Park, Nashua Police Athletic League (PAL), Lincoln Park, Foster’s Square, Nashua YMCA, Main Dunstable Fields, Nashua Public Library, Rotary Pool, Girls Inc., Centennial Pool, and the Boys and Girls Club with easy access to Mine Falls Park at several locations.

Even the paperwork is minimal. Parents just need to sign a waiver and their kids are off! What a lot of problems this solves, allowing kids to meet up with each other without being driven or scheduled. More fun, less traffic! And if the bus is popular, the parks and pools will probably all see spikes in use, so really — the bus is a way of getting a bigger bang for the public buck.

Win, win, win, win…well, you get the idea. Anything like this out by you? Any chance? – L.

Nashua, NH (back in the uncopyrighted photos day).

Nashua, NH back in the (uncopyrighted photos) day.

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39 Responses to A Summertime Bus for Kids to the Pool and Library?

  1. anonymous mom July 8, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    That is awesome! I’d love something like that around here.

  2. Michelle July 8, 2014 at 10:00 am #

    I *wish* we had something like this! I was hoping for a sidewalk along the (very busy) street that leads to the library, but apparently there’s a rule saying sidewalks can only connect neighborhoods to schools (to save money). :(

  3. Dirk July 8, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    Should be in every city! It sort of is though, the NY subway can take a 9 year old almost anywhere!

  4. nina July 8, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    Yes im nyc subway can take a kid almost anywhere. Problems start once they get there. My sons (13 and 11) are going to ny to spend a week exploring the city while staying with grandparents. We thought my mother won’t have to take time off work while they are there. She gets off at 3, so we thought boys will be able to sleep in, take public transportation to one of many museums and then meet grandma after work for further exploring. Not so simple. Most nyc museums won’t allow minors to enter with out an adult guardian unless they are 16 or even 18 in some cases. So my mother ended up taking a week off. I understand that museums don’t want to have babysitting duties, but most teenagers don’t need babysitters.

  5. Linda July 8, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    Hoorah!

  6. James July 8, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    Nice!

    Out of curiosity, when did bus monitors become a standard thing? I’m not saying they’re a bad thing, necessarily, but as I recall, when I was in middle school, we only had bus monitors after there had been trouble on the bus.

  7. Mark Davis July 8, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    What an incredibly awesome idea! Would be great to see this catch on.

  8. K July 8, 2014 at 11:16 am #

    Bravo, Nashua NH.

    In the comments:
    What a crying shame about the experience in NYC museums! I can’t imagine that museums exclude interested minors. Isn’t a prime objective of these educational institutions to reach this very population? Could they offer each child the opportunity to get a “visiting” card? Then, any kids that can’t follow instructions could get their card “revoked”.

  9. Paula July 8, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    Wow!

  10. Eric July 8, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    Utah Transit Authority offers a summer “Riders License” for $99 bucks, and it takes kids anywhere the bus (or train) goes.

    http://www.rideuta.com/news/2014/05/riders-license/

  11. Dirk July 8, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    Hi Nina,

    They could go to The American Museum of Natural History. They would be considered adults though and would need to pay full price…

  12. Aimee July 8, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Yay!

    South Portland (ME) Public Library has teamed up with the public transpo system – this summer, each day a child comes to the library and takes out at least one book, they get a one-ride city bus pass. What’s better than safe, convenient public transportation? FREE safe convenient public transportation! :-)

  13. kate July 8, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    But why do they need a monitor? Maybe more parents would be willing to sign up knowing there is a responsible adult on board.

  14. Jenna K. July 8, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    I wish our community had a similar thing. I need to check with our pool and see how old kids need to be to go without a parent. I would love for my kids to have the freedoms I had as a kid with regard to this. In Connecticut, we had a bus that took us from our neighborhood to the city pool and in Texas, we could go to the pool without our parents as young as age eight as long as we passed a swim test. The pool was around the corner from us, so my brothers and I walked or rode our bikes, but that was the best part of our summers. I tell my kids about it and my oldest has said, “It’s not fair how you got to do all kinds of things when you were a kid and everybody else thought it was okay too.”

  15. Jenna K. July 8, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    @Eric–I live in the Wasatch Front and they probably aren’t selling too many of those, considering a lot of families have more than four kids. It’s cheaper for me to just drive my kids and drop them off than buy a $99 pass for each of them. That’s almost $600 just for my kids! UTA really needs to get a grip and stop making public transportation so expensive! Note that the New Hampshire bus route is free.

  16. lsl July 8, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    Cache Valley Transit District is always free, year-round, for everybody. Many Jr High & High School students ride the public bus to & from school & the library year round, & the pool & skate park in the summer, & since kids can start riding w/o an adult beginning at age 8, so do quite a few elementary kids.

  17. nina July 8, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    Dirk, I just called museum of natural history and the answer is no. They do not allow unaccompanied minors until they hit the age of 16. Buying adult priced ticket doesn’t save the day. Most art museum said 18. It’s a shame. For spring break we went to Chicago. We also have a 4 yo daughter with different interests than older boys, so we usually go separate ways in museums. In most places it wasn’t a problem, except for the art museum. Boys got harassed several times by museum personal for doing nothing more than looking at paintings with out an adult hovering nearby. At some point they were directed to go to a lost children desk. They refused because they weren’t lost but decided to find us and stick together. It just wasn’t worth the trouble arguing with the museum staff.

  18. Justine Raphael July 8, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

    Our county (Clallam, on the Oympic Peninsula in WA) offers a youth bus pass for $20–to anyone under 18! To encourage independent explorations! It lasts three months and covers four counties in a cooperative and enlightened venture. Lets hope they continue it after the three year pilot program…

  19. Ben July 8, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    What is stopping kids from using the regular buses?
    Anyway, as long as it gets them outdoors and it doesn’t cost money, I’m all for it.

  20. no rest for the weary July 8, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    I love that the “authorities” are promoting a program for kids to ride a bus at age 6 and up! Without their parents! And then they get to their destination… without their parents!

    It’s a very good sign, this encouragement and “stamp of approval from above” on the idea of kids going to do things on their own.

    Yay, NH.

  21. Susan July 8, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

    Mississauga, Ontario , Canada is doing something similar. Free bus/ rec center/ public pool use from 1 July to 31 Aug for kids born 1999 to 2002. I have a very free range kid that is making really good use of this summer free pass!

  22. Jm July 8, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    Nice idea. I’ve been thinking for some time that if only schoolbus stops were always at the nearest park or playground instead of the nearest corner, they would get much more use (and kids in the same neighborhood but at different schools would get to know each other). I wonder how hard that would be to pull off?!

  23. CrazyCatLady July 8, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

    The Richland Public Library in WA has the kids read a certain number of hours then they can get a bus pass for the summer. I think it is limited to kids who are 6th grade and up. The Mid Columbia Library system in the same area also used to offer a bus pass, and one day of free admission to the county fair.

    During the school year kids in the Richland School District 6th grade or up can get a free bus pass each month if they ask.

    These are for the regular buses, riding with adults, with schedules and interchanges that would need to be figured out. Not as easy for younger kids as the bus that makes the loop.

  24. derfel cadarn July 8, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    When I was a kid the school district had a bus that went to the district library two times a week over the summer. It is and was a very large school district, I was on that bus every week. I still love books and always will.

  25. K2 July 8, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    I think this is a great service and hope that an incident or two doesn’t spoil the trend with parents being blamed etc..

  26. Mark July 8, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    @Ben, the regular buses probably follow routes suitable for adults going to and from work — not exactly the sort of destination kids would be interested in.

  27. Andrew July 8, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

    A waiver? To use public transport?

  28. Jen July 8, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    As a rule, there is very little public transportation in NH. This is great on two fronts, it’s providing a means for kids to get to places where they can hang out and play AND, it’s providing them with some experience navigating a bus route — something that many of them have not had experience with but will be great to have done before they inevitably leave NH to visit larger cities. Isn’t that what free range is all about? Giving kids a bit of freedom to experience things and gain confidence?

  29. Emily Morris July 8, 2014 at 11:44 pm #

    Also on the Wasatch front. My dad has purchased the bus pass before and loves it. I lived in Logan for awhile and loved the free bus system. Indeed, UTA should copy that.

  30. J.T. Wenting July 9, 2014 at 12:07 am #

    “Not so simple. Most nyc museums won’t allow minors to enter with out an adult guardian unless they are 16 or even 18 in some cases”

    That’s been a rule in museums for decades, has nothing (at least originally) to do with “safety” but rather with not wanting to have to deal with noisy, annoying brats disturbing other visitors and damaging the displays, thus requiring parental supervision.
    Way too many teens think it great fun to vandalise stuff, harass people, they’d have to have a guard in every room and hallway to deter them.

    ” museums! I can’t imagine that museums exclude interested minors. Isn’t a prime objective of these educational institutions to reach this very population? ”

    sadly if they’d allow unaccompanied minors their running cost would go through the roof (see above as to why). So they’d have to increase prices to hire a lot more staff, making the place less accessible to all.
    Requiring adult supervision of children is a small price to pay IMO.

    If everyone were to raise their children to respect others and their property such wouldn’t be needed, but sadly most parents don’t.

  31. Kay July 9, 2014 at 12:21 am #

    It’s a step in the right direction.

  32. Max July 9, 2014 at 1:55 am #

    The only question is why you need a dedicated bus for it, normal public transportation should work.

  33. Andy July 9, 2014 at 4:34 am #

    @J.T. Wenting Why cant museum employees simply send away misbehaving brats? They all have at least one guard, he should be able to do so. Museum do not need to employ dozens of new people. Most misbehaving brats have no interest to be in museum anyway, it is boring place. I do not think they will repeatedly come back.

    The vast majority of teenagers is not involved in vandalism. I would like to see the evidence that show there is more teenage vandalism now then used to be in 80ties, there does not seem to be much. On the other hand, adults today seem to assume that young people are up to no good just because they showed up somewhere.

  34. Dirk July 9, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    I didn’t notice that you said one of the kids was 11. Yeah, he is a “child” by their payment structure. Adults: $22 Children (2-12): $12.50 Seniors/Students with ID: $17

  35. Jen July 9, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    @Max
    Because, NH is mostly rural and there is very little public transportation infrastructure. Nashua is the second largest city with about 80k residents. . .the next largest city only has about 40k. There is probably not any regular bus service that goes to those locations–especially not in a loop. It looks like the city has decided to repurpose an existing bus that does not go to those areas in order to provide the children with an option. I think it’s a great idea and I hope it will be well used.

  36. Dirk July 9, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    Hi Nina, I called them as well right now (212-769-5100) because I was certain teens can go to there, and anyone over the age of 12 can go to the NYC American Museum of Natural History alone. So the 13 year old could go, but the 11 year old could not. I would also have suggested Madame Tuassads to you because they have similar rules (although again I think the 11 year old wouldn’t have been able to get in but it really depends on how he looks doesn’t it?)Same with the Museum of the City of NY you have to be at least 13 to go alone.

  37. Sarah W July 9, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    I really love that it extends as young as 6 years old. My youngest was eager to walk to the store for me at that age, and some of my neighbors thought I was being too liberal. It’s only 2 blocks, and she absolutely loved the responsibility. At almost 9 now, she’s my regular errands girl, and is confident asking other shoppers to help her reach stuff from the high shelves. Start them young, I say!

  38. Sandi July 9, 2014 at 11:54 pm #

    Love this!! Wish we had something like it.

  39. Sky July 11, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    Our community doesn’t allow children under the age of 12 to be at the pool or library unsupervised, so, definitely wouldn’t have a bus to those places….alas. My kids could bike to both easily anyway, but they aren’t allowed there alone.