KAHULUI, Hawaii — The state is temporarily consolidating and suspending school bus routes for four schools on Maui due to a shortage of qualified school bus drivers.
As of Aug. 7, the first day of school, bus routes for Maui High School, Lahainaluna High School, Baldwin High School, and Iao School will be temporarily consolidated or suspended, according to a news release from the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE).
At Maui High School, some bus routes will be temporarily consolidated, meaning longer wait times for students. Students who are impacted by the change will receive a free school bus pass during the consolidation period.
At Lahainaluna High, Baldwin High, and Iao School, all bus routes will be temporarily suspended until an adequate level of qualified drivers with commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) are recruited. Routes will be restored as soon as new drivers begin service. Students affected will be eligible for a free monthly public transportation bus pass.
"HIDOE appreciates our students' and parents' patience during this time, and services will be restored to normal as new drivers are hired," said Donalyn Dela Cruz, spokesperson for HIDOE. "We are working diligently with school bus contractors to minimize the impacts to our students, and we encourage any qualified CDL drivers on Maui to apply now with our student transportation services branch. Contractors are offering increased wages and signing bonuses to remedy this shortage before the first day of school."
School bus service for special-needs students will not be affected.
Hawaii Sen. Kalani English told KHON2 that communication between HIDOE and school bus contractors needs to improve and that, “we will try and find a quick solution because there are people that need jobs on Maui. … It’s just that certification is so difficult.”
HIDOE also recently reported a school bus driver shortage on Kauai.