Alex Goldmark is the senior producer of Note to Self, a storytelling show about how technology is changing society. Subscribe here to get Note to Self shows delivered right to your devices. Follow him on Twitter @alexgoldmark.
Meet a Student Super Commuter on the Bus for a Better Life
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 12:13 PM
The mother-daughter duo travels together at least four hours a day on public transit round trip—all in search of a better education and a sense of opportunity they don’t see close to home.
Nikita, who’s 14, gets up at 4:30 a.m. with her mom in their apartment in Bridgeport’s East End. New Haven magnet schools accept kids from Bridgeport, but don’t offer bus service. Paris and Nikita don’t have a car. And the trains don’t run early enough to deliver her for the 7:30 a.m. start of school. So they hop on a series of buses, beginning at 5:30 a.m., to get to school on time.
Melissa Bailey of the New Haven Independent spent a day following Nikita and her mom -- and taking some great photos -- to see what this student super commute is like. If you want to understand what a multi-transfer transit commute of this sort is like, read the full story. It unfolds as a touching vignette about the search of opportunity, and a bit reminiscent of our past story on the importance of a car -- sometimes -- in economic mobility.
It won't spoil the story to say, Nikita and her mother are cheerful about the trek.