With the summer season coming to an end; back-to-school time is fast approaching. Families are purchasing school supplies, meeting new teachers and finding the classrooms. Before the big first day of school families are also planning how to get to and from school safely. As your family’s routine changes with the back-to-school commute, here are some options to consider:
Walking and Biking
Depending on the distance and safe routes, walking or biking could be a great option for parents and students. Try testing out a walk or bike ride to the school to test out how long it takes and the safety of the route. One of the benefits to walking or biking to school together is getting extra quality time in the morning that a quick car ride might cut short. Walking or biking to school also teaches your child how to navigate through the community. Walking school buses or bicycle trains can help make this easier. These bring together a group of children who live close by to walk or bike to school together under the supervision of volunteer parent(s). To start a walking school bus or bicycle train at your school, invite families that live nearby, determine a schedule, route, and adult supervisors and take a test walk or bike ride as a group. Need more help? Check out the Safe Routes to School for more information.
Did you know your student can ride public transit for free? Fairfax Connector is now free for students under the age of 12 with an accompanying parent. Plus, middle and high school students can sign up for Fairfax County’s Free Student Bus Pass program to ride Fairfax Connector, City of Fairfax CUE, and in some cases even Metrobus for free. DASH bus is a free service and there’s no ID required – just hop on the bus! Whether you want to spend a little extra time with your child in the morning, encourage your child’s independence, or aren’t served by a public-school bus or experiencing delays, knowing nearby bus schedules ensures you’re prepared.
Find out if neighbors have children that go to the same school and coordinate for potential carpools. This is a great way to reduce the cars lining up in front of the school drop-off zone and gives parents the flexibility to take turns driving to school on different days of the week.
Guaranteed Ride Home
This program ensures that you can pick up your child from school in case of emergency no matter how you commute to work. If you use Metro, a commuter bus, VRE, carpool or other commuting option to get to work twice per week, you qualify for up to six free rides home per year. This is commonly used for parents who need to leave in the middle of the workday due to a child’s illness or emergency at school but don’t have their car with them. Sign up for Guaranteed Ride Home now so you’re covered when you need it. Go West Alex is here to make your back-to-school commuting routine easier than ever. Try our free commute plan tool and see the best option to help your child get to school.