Bus service to M-A High School gets easier this school year


By Elisabeth Westermann/Special to The Almanac

SamTrans, the public bus service for San Mateo County, is adding service to Route 81 to make the commute to and from Menlo-Atherton High School easier for students living in East Palo Alto and Menlo Park's Belle Haven neighborhood.

Route 81 will now connect the two areas on a direct route to M-A.

The change comes after SamTrans found that many students living in East Palo Alto and Belle Haven had to take two buses to get to school, according to SamTrans spokesperson Dan Lieberman.

Over a third of SamTrans' ridership is made up of students, primarily on routes to and from school, Lieberman said in a press release. As a result, SamTrans and M-A collaborate on making student commutes easier.

"Menlo-Atherton and SamTrans have a working partnership," M-A principal Simone Rick-Kennel noted in the press release. "Route 81 was established because there was a need to make sure all students could arrive to school ready to learn, not frustrated by their commute. With this partnership, SamTrans provides a direct connection to the classroom and M-A students benefit from this immensely."

SamTrans makes changes to bus schedules and service operations three times a year to adjust to changing traffic patterns and improve service and efficiency, according to the press release. The Route 81 change is a part of SamTrans' August changes, which include all 39 of SamTrans' school routes resuming on Monday, Aug. 19.

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