Local View: Eliminating bus route would hurt students

The Duluth Transit Authority recently announced plans to discontinue Route 21 following a two-year test period ("DTA plans changes to 3 of 5 experimental routes," March 2).

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Denfeld’s 1947 boys basketball team is the only Denfeld basketball team to win a state title. The team’s head coach was Lloyd Holm. Team members were Rudy Monson, Larry Tessier, Paul Nace, Kenneth Sunnarborg, Eugene Norlander, Howard Tucker, Tony Skull, Jerry Walczak, Bruce Budge, Keith Stolen and student manager Bob Scott.

The Duluth Transit Authority recently announced plans to discontinue Route 21 following a two-year test period (" DTA plans changes to 3 of 5 experimental routes ," March 2).

Currently, the route provides hourly service on weekdays from Lakeside to Miller Hill Mall via the University of Minnesota Duluth. The route provides an important service for students and staff as the only direct link between Lakeside and UMD. Four schools are served: East High School, Congdon Park Elementary School, Ordean East Middle School, and UMD. The elimination of this route would impact students, student teachers, and staff who rely on this route to get to and from school or the university each day.

Many East High School students, including me, take classes at both East and UMD. Nearly all of us who don't have a car rely on Route 21 to get to our classes on time. If Route 21 gets canceled, dually enrolled students without their own vehicles would be forced to take fewer classes to accommodate for lengthier travel times.

It should be recognized that the route currently fails to meet DTA and state ridership standards. However, with some alterations, I believe its ridership per hour of bus service could be increased to acceptable levels.

First, the route could be shortened between Lakeside and UMD. This could cut the mileage of the route in half while maintaining the key rider demographic of those involved in education.


Second, service could be reduced to only during the UMD academic calendar. This would save around 100 weekdays of below-average bus ridership during breaks.

Third, service could be reduced so the last bus departs UMD at 4 p.m., when most students are done with class for the day.

Finally, if needed, service could be reduced from hourly to every other hour, around which students could plan their schedules.

I hope the Duluth Transit Authority is willing to consider alternatives to canceling the route.

I encourage anyone who would like to voice their support for maintaining this route to send their comments to and to attend a public meeting on Wednesday, March 27, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Duluth Transit Center downtown.


Max Schoolderman is a junior at Duluth East High School who relies on public bus transportation to also take classes at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

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