by Danyeal Escobar
For only $1.25 most residents of Fresno can take up to 3 of 100 buses traveling 16 routes that cover 133 square miles of the city. The service is known as Fresno Area Express, or FAX.
FAX buses help people from all walks of life get where they need to go. The buses have ramps and are wheelchair accessible, though riders in wheelchairs have to pay 25¢ more. There are lower bus fares for seniors, and bus schedules are available for 25¢.
FAX offers many services to help the community of Fresno, but they could do more.
FAX buses should offer free public WiFi for riders. WiFi servers are already installed in FAX buses, but its use is restricted to bus drivers. Free public WiFi would relieve stress and make bus rides more enjoyable for the people who use the service.
Riding FAX buses can be stressful. Sometimes buses are off schedule and sometimes they don’t show up at all. When these situations occur, riders miss transfers, or worse, they can be late for things like meetings, work, school, or curfew.
Some people are fortunate enough to have data on their phones, while people like me rely on WiFi.
Mid-July in Fresno is deadly. We’ve all experienced the desert heat and sometimes it causes extreme disruption to our lives.
I was riding a FAX bus, number 22 actually, and the bus driver seemed alarmed. He had pulled over twice already at locations without stops. The engine sounded funny and I felt unsafe. The bus got downtown, almost to the transit center, and stopped. The driver pulled over and told everyone that the bus was no longer in service due to overheating. It was dangerous to continue driving.
Everyone got off the bus we all paid for and had to walk. I was far from my destination and didn’t have WiFi to tell my mom what had happened. I didn’t know exactly where I was so I just started walking. I went about 6 blocks before I found free WiFi. I let my mom know what had occurred and had my boyfriend come pick me up and take me to work.
That situation is just one example of why I think FAX buses should have free WiFi. Even on days when the heat isn’t as intense, being stranded without WiFi can be unnerving. It could’ve been late at night, I could’ve been hurt or kidnapped and no one would’ve known my bus hadn’t made it to my location.
Not to mention, bus rides are long and tedious. With the many stops and driver breaks it takes at least an hour to get anywhere. WiFi on FAX buses could make my time normally wasted on buses, much more productive.
Making free public WiFi available could help many people in unexpected situations and would be a great way for Fresno to spend its money.