Now and then, an assembly of high school students on their newly furnished electronic bikes cruise along the road. With the quiet humming from the motors, their vehicles pivot and zigzag through oncoming traffic – a new scenery in transportation among San Diego youth.
One of the lingering effects of the pandemic persists in the relentless rise in gas prices. The owner of Del Mar-based Culture Ebike, Michelle Horner, said that her store has since attracted more customers. As an inexpensive alternative to cars, the bike poses an opportunity to exercise and leisure through its self-driving mechanism, which is now widely used by teenagers.
“I do not have a car to get to work, so I can just ride my bike there. It’s just way easier, cheaper and does not make any noise,” Jorge Acevedo, a junior attending Acellus Academy, who rides an ebike, said.
Emblematic of San Diego’s striving towards more sustainable policies, the ebike culture is one that Horner hopes to encourage more community members to pick up on.
“The state of California and the county of San Diego should start allowing some tax deductions or even putting some grant money aside to help, especially the lower income community be able to afford an ebike,” she said.
It is not a surprise that many youths fall back to their familiarity with driving their cars. As long as they have their license, they commute to and back from school, work or for other occasions.
“It’s just the independence with driving,” Tom Schwaiger, a Torrey Pines High School senior, who received his license last year, said. “As soon as you get it, you feel a new sense of freedom.”
School buses are also accessible to whoever needs them. Fabian Soto rides the daily bus to Torrey Pines High School. He notes that though there may not be that many who ride the bus, the time he spends with his companions is worthwhile besides providing convenience for his commute to school.
Other than these methods, those attending colleges and universities look to navigate the city with public transportation. The Triton U-Pass offered to UC San Diego students confers unlimited access to the MTS and NCTD buses and trolleys.
“I was looking forward to it because they had talked about the trolley opening on campus since my first year,” Carlos Paredes, a senior at UC San Diego, said. “I enjoyed more access to public transportation moving further north.”
Paredes anticipates more expansion of the public transportation system into downtown communities to amplify its use. The constant development of more sustainable, efficient transportation methods inspires San Diego youth to see a different future in commuting.