Youths to challenge their peers to behave better on city buses |

Youths to challenge their peers to behave better on city buses

Dennis WebbPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Youths are being blamed for a problem of misbehavior on Glenwood Springs city buses, and youths hope to be part of the solution.Young riders occasionally are bothering other passengers on Ride Glenwood Springs buses through foul language, vandalism, rude behavior and inconsiderate action toward others, said Police Chief Terry Wilson. One even challenged a driver to fight after being asked to calm down.Wilson said a couple of instigators have been thrown off buses on occasion. He worries that the misbehavior may cause some people not to ride the bus, or distract drivers enough to cause an accident.”They are driving an extremely large piece of iron down the street. I really want the drivers to be focused on that process and do so as safely as possible,” he said.A particular problem has involved some kids who board buses in the area of the Glenwood Springs Middle School. At a city Transportation Commission meeting in March, city transportation manager Sabrina Harris suggested closing a nearby bus stop, but City Council member Chris McGovern noted that the stop also serves residents of the nearby Machebeuf apartments.”That would be a pretty extreme measure, to do that, to shut down a stop,” said Sylvia Cranmer, spokesperson for the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, which contracts to run the city’s bus system.RFTA plans to cooperate with Glenwood Springs Middle School on an alternative approach. It will involve working with eighth-graders on a service learning project in which they will teach good bus etiquette to younger students.”It’s kind of a train the trainer – they in turn get to be good role models for the younger kids,” Cranmer said.Teacher Beth Ullom also is involved with the project, which is part of a larger “Turning Points” program eighth-graders are participating in as they prepare to take the next step in their lives by going to high school. Ullom, GSMS principal Brad Ray and some of the students involved in the bus project all think that just a small number of students is causing problems on city buses.”It’s only a few people that ruin it for everyone,” said eighth-grader Edlyn Macias, a frequent Ride Glenwood Springs rider.The school provides bus transportation home immediately after school, but some students use the city bus if they want to go somewhere else before heading home.Ray said the school has seen a decline in behavioral problems on school buses over the last year. He said he appreciates that students have an option of riding the city bus too, but is limited in what he can do about problems on that bus because he has no authority over students when they are riding it.Eighth-grader Christian Bergren-Aragon, who also is participating in the service project, said he understands why misbehavior by kids would concern adult riders.”They just want to be able to sit on the bus without kids yelling, kids getting in fights,” he said.Bergren-Aragon said the first time he rode the city bus, the bus driver warned that if kids misbehaved they all would be kicked off. He thinks the warning was fair.”It’s not really fair for him to have to deal with stuff,” he said.Bergren-Aragon is looking forward to the service project, “just to tell kids how to ride RFTA and to help the bus drivers in their job so they don’t have to continually be watching the kids – making sure they can do their job,” he said.Wilson said it’s against the law to disrupt public transportation, and he hopes the behavioral problems can be stopped.”We will be extremely intolerant of anything that creates a dangerous situation or a hazard,” he said.Ray hopes not only for a solution, but that youths in general aren’t judged by the actions of a few.”We have a lot of great kids doing a lot of great things,” he said.Contact Dennis Webb: 384-9119dwebb@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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