We've all heard about some awfully long-distance commutes. And when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration looks at the data, they're looking at the distances adults travel each day to get to work...
Now think for a moment about you'd feel if you were 14 years old and had about a 4- or 5-hour commute each day just to get to school.
A Bronx HS of Science student living in Queens officially has one of the longest school commutes on the planet — a journey of more than five hours each day that tops the trips of everyone from a Brazilian kid on a donkey to a Thai girl in a rickshaw, according to the NY Post.
Santiago Munoz’s two-bus, two-subway trip to one of the country’s premier high schools is now featured in a photo exhibit at the United Nations detailing the hardships children face getting to school.
If this kid doesn't inspire all of us, nothing will.
"The trip I do every day to get to school everyone should be willing to do to get a good education,” he said.
14-year-old Santiago’s daily journey from a Far Rockaway housing project to the tip of Manhattan, then up near the top of The Bronx — and back again — stands out for its extreme duration. The one-way trip runs between 2 hours, 20 minutes and 2 hours, 40 minutes depending on how transit is running.
And he says kids in other part of the world have it harder. He told the Post, "“I think I’m privileged to take a train compared to a donkey. I’d prefer a long ride and a safer trip than going one hour through a gang-filled or war-torn country.”
Here's his routine:
The ninth-grader wakes up at 5 a.m. each school day. Santiago — whose mom died when he was 6 — leaves the six-room apartment he shares with his dad, aunt, grandmother, two siblings and cousin just before 6 a.m.
Because parts of the A-train route were wiped out by Hurricane Sandy, he must board the Q22 bus, which he takes to the Q52 or Q53.
Either bus — he boards whichever comes first — will take him to the Rockaway Boulevard A-train station.
He rides that train into Manhattan, where he gets off at Fulton Street to board an uptown 4 train. He takes the 4 to Bedford Park Boulevard, then walks 10 minutes to his school.
On days when he has extracurricular activities, he may not get home until 9 pm.
The Post reported that he could have gone to school closer to home. Santiago was accepted to prestigious Townsend Harris HS in Flushing, but the aspiring physician chose Bronx Science for its famed math and science programs.
“This gives me a better opportunity to become a doctor,” he said.
“I find the human body very interesting, and it’s something I’d like to study.”
He uses his time on trains to catch up on schoolwork — if he gets a seat.
“Sometimes the train can get really packed,” he said.
The photo exhibit, titled Journeys to School, was sponsored in part by Veolia, the international transit company that runs Nassau County’s bus system.
Santiago appreciates his education and has his sights set on MIT or Columbia University. Let's wish him well, he deserves it!
Here's Santiago telling his story on YouTube... check it out.