The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Sophomores hop on public bus to mall for lunch

One of the multiple buses used by students to Montgomery Mall is the 26, arriving at 11:11 am, causing a rush with only 6 minutes to make it from one’s class to the stop.
Photo by Nicholas Chhina
One of the multiple buses used by students to Montgomery Mall is the 26, arriving at 11:11 am, causing a rush with only 6 minutes to make it from one’s class to the stop.

Open lunch at Walter Johnson is a great privilege for students, with options galore. Many upperclassmen have been driving to Montgomery Mall to get food from the plethora of options like McDonalds, Chipotle and Panda Express. In recent times, however, there have been more and more underclassmen following suit. Though, freshmen and most sophomores share the problem of being unable to drive. The mall is too far for students to walk to, so public transportation is the only option. This brings up the question: is the mall worth the bus trip?

The small distance between the mall and school allows for busing to be an option. RideOn buses provide quick and easy transportation for students to use, with four buses stopping at the mall. Students can take the 26, 46, 96 and the Metrobus J2. They take only ten to fifteen minutes, with minimal stops in between. Thanks to this, students make the trip to the mall, get food and return back to school within the hour.

But why do students choose to take the bus to the mall instead of the quick walk to Georgetown Square or Wildwood Shopping Center?

“There isn’t a big reason I go, we just go to get different and better food,” Tan said.

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While going to the mall is a nice option, lunchtime is finite. The hour doesn’t allow for time wasted unless people want to speed eat their food. However, underclassmen still manage to find the time to eat at the mall and make it back in time for class.

For those who can drive, eating at the mall for a longer period is easy.

Before the recent “pay and go” policy was implemented, it wasn’t common for nondrivers to go to the mall for lunch, making the reason for the increasing numbers of people taking the bus obvious. But reasons for choosing to take the bus to the mall rather than staying close to school can vary. For Tan and his friends, going to the mall is mainly just to enjoy the different food choices, making the trip seem more worthwhile. For others, the change in scenery is enough.

“More restaurant choices and seating areas,” sophomore Lucas Wander said.

Students at WJ love having open lunch. It provides the great opportunity that many schools don’t have, to actually leave campus and get some fresh air and food in a different environment. Now, we see students making this excursion to the mall.

However, the bus is a form of public transportation, posing a potential risk. Students taking the bus need to be efficient as the bus is on a schedule and can’t wait for students that are running behind. Unfortunately, the only option if one misses the bus is to wait for the next one, often causing people to be late to fifth period.

“I have missed the bus, so we just hit another bus or the J2,” Tan said.

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