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Driving vs Transit for High Schoolers

Pinky Advani
Pinky Advani December 13, 2019 Pinky Advani is a former Senior Business Development Manager at Arlington Transportation Partners.

ATP Takeaway: Driving isn't the only way to encourage independence and responsibility, encourage your student to explore transit.

As a parent, I am always looking for resources on how I can prepare my child for high school with increased homework assignments, grades, college preparations—the list goes on. I was caught off guard when my peers (mommy group) mentioned about learners/drivers permits will be soon upon us, which is something that does not come to my mind naturally.

To some, driving is a way to teach your child responsibility, flexibility, and independence because you no longer have to drive them to any after school activities and events.  That does sound good, however as a mother to a high school freshman, the thought of him driving does scare me a little. Driving can’t be the only way to teach responsibility and independence in a place that has an abundance transit options! Some things to consider before you hand over the keys to your high schooler.



1. Financial

Compare the cost of a new/used car with the cost of a transit pass. Car installments, insurance, gas, and regular maintenance can quickly add up making your monthly payments high. Transit on the other hand, might be a cheaper alternative. Arlington County middle and high school students can purchase an iRide card at any of the Commuter Stores and ride the ART bus at a discounted fare of $1.00. Don’t forget to register the iRide card.

2. Health

Kids these days are spending less and less time outdoors for a variety of reasons. When riding public transit, biking, or walking, your child is automatically getting their share of daily exercise. A short bike ride or short walk to transit is good for their physical and mental health. Plus, a good way to get those wiggles out before class. Their teachers will thank you too.

3. Environment

We do a great job and teaching our kids to reduce, reuse, and recycle as great ways to protect the environment. Did you know transportation is one of the largest sources of greenhouse emissions? Let’s celebrate earth day year-round by choosing an alternative mode to commute to school.

4. Safety

Texting, social media, apps for everything—the list can go on—are a blessing as well as a curse. Our kids love their phones and must respond to a message or post with seconds of being posted. Sounds familiar, right? Distracted driving is a major cause for accidents. When riding transit, there’s less chance of distraction and a great way to know your community and surroundings.

Choose Your Ride

Not sure about the available transit options? Arlington Transportation Partners can help create a customized trip planner for your student. We also have information about some of our fav transit apps with your high schooler. Driving or transit—whatever you choose, remember my personal mommy-tested top four things to consider. 


Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/Kittner.com for Arlington Transportation Partners

Tags: Walking, Behavior, Schools, Accessibility


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