Students Frustrated by New Bus Pass Failures


Daevan Mangalmurti, Editor

Many Obama students were treated to an unpleasant surprise yesterday afternoon when their glossy new student IDs failed to work as bus passes. Problems only intensified as students returned home from their second day of finals.

Shortly before noon, Junior Musa Sakala attempted to board the P1 at the East Busway stop in East Liberty. After failing multiple times to get his bus pass to work with the bus’ scanner, he tried to explain to the increasingly impatient bus driver that he had no idea why the pass was not working. Uninterested in any explanations, the driver demanded he get off the bus. Without any other way to get home, and with temperatures hovering at about 20 degrees outside, Musa decided not to go anywhere. He remained steadfast even when the driver, “wouldn’t pull off and just sat there and called the cops.” When the police showed up several minutes later, they told the bus driver to keep moving, but the damage was done. Musa’s parents were forced to pick him up from Downtown in the middle of their workdays because of the driver’s continued hostility towards him.

About half an hour after the P1 driver called the police on Musa, Junior Chazzlyn Burke was kicked off of her bus because her ID was also not working. When she tried to get on another bus at 12:54, the driver once again ejected her from the vehicle. Chazzlyn’s troubles only got worse when school security refused to let her into the building to try to get her old bus pass. With no money and without any other way of getting home, Chazzlyn eventually got a ride from a concerned neighbor.

Throughout the hours after school ended this morning, the same scenes repeated themselves across the city- but seemingly only to Obama Juniors and Seniors. Many have reported extreme difficulty in convincing bus drivers that they are not trying to hitch free rides, and in some extreme cases like those mentioned above, they have had to rely on other means of transportation to make their ways home while avoiding the freezing temperatures outside.

Until this afternoon, it was unclear why these problems were happening at all, and why they were only happening to upperclassmen. It now appears that due to a miscommunication between the Port Authority of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Public Schools, students were issued the wrong type of student ID. The cards they should have been issued were intended to double as bus passes, but cards of a different type were accidentally issued to students. What remains unclear is why bus drivers were not immediately informed of this by the Port Authority and why PPS did not inform students and parents about the issue immediately, especially given the importance of public transportation to many PPS students. Stick with the Eagle Online as we continue to look into the issue over the coming days.

Junior Chazzlyn Burke’s bus passes. The one in red (right) works. The one in yellow (left) does not.