HONOLULU — School bus service will be provided to about 200 more students under an expansion of the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE)'s "Get on Board" pilot program.
This second phase of the Get on Board initiative will begin in November. It will apply to students from four schools in Waipahu and Pearl City.
The first phase of the pilot program restored school bus service to about 350 students at the beginning of the school year.
"Like the inaugural phase of Get on Board, this second phase is being offered at no additional cost to our families," said Ray L’Heureux, assistant superintendent of the DOE’s Office of School Facilities and Support Services. "With the use of the computerized software, we’re able to continue gathering data that is going to be important in our ongoing transportation reform efforts."
For the second phase of Get on Board, the DOE is working with contractor Tomasa's Bus Co. and will for the first time use Transfinder computerized software to determine bus stop times and route directions.
The Get on Board initiative is a multi-year, multi-phased commitment by the DOE to reform its public school student bus transportation system. The restoration of the additional routes in November increases total ridership in the Get on Board pilot area to approximately 4,000 students. DOE officials said that it represents a significant step toward full statewide program implementation over the next two school years.
In June 2012, the DOE announced that more than 100 bus routes were being eliminated statewide due to rising costs and a loss of funding. Since then, the DOE has streamlined services, restored a number of the routes and contracted Management Partnership Services to conduct a study of Hawaii’s student bus transportation system.
Earlier this year, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law two bills that give the DOE more flexibility in how it awards its bus contracts.