Hawaii Department of Education Launches Final Phase of Student Transportation Reforms

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) has successfully reached the final phase of its Get on Board initiative with the awarding of new contracts on Maui and Kauai for school year (SY) 2017-18.

On Maui, Robert’s Hawaii School Bus will service the Kekaulike Complex and Ground Transport Inc. will provide transportation for the Baldwin, Maui and Lahainaluna complexes. On the Garden Isle Akita Enterprises will service the Kapaa and Kauai complexes, while Yamaguchi Bus Service will serve the Waimea Complex.

This culminates the last of three stages of HIDOE’s reform efforts that began in 2013 as a pilot project in Central Oahu. The Get on Board initiative has improved service by streamlining processes and upgrading technology while reducing overall transportation costs by more than $13 million annually.

“The success of our Get on Board efforts can be attributed to the improved partnerships we developed with our vendors, and their willingness to work with us as we look for ways to make our student transportation services more efficient,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The Department is also taking advantage of advances in technology to improve accountability and promote transparency.”

In June 2012, HIDOE eliminated 100 bus routes due to rising costs and a loss of funding. Get on Board was launched to address these issues. The pilot portion immediately restored service to around 350 students at the beginning of SY 2013-14.

As part of the initiative, legislation was passed that gave the Department more flexibility in how bus contracts are awarded.

The most visible component of Get On Board is the implementation of never-before-used technology that enhances and protects student health and safety. The technology platform now includes computerized routing software, automated route and stop assignments, GPS mapping and tracking, video cameras on all school buses, and online information portals.

“Our Department transports more than 40,000 students per day statewide, and the safety of our passengers is a top priority. The upgraded technology is just another tool we can use to create a secure environment on our buses,” added Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson.

Parents can sign up for transportation by obtaining a 2017-2018 School Bus Handbook from their child’s school or online. The handbook contains important information about school bus ridership, and the back cover of the handbook is the 2017-2018 application. Completed applications should be returned to the school office prior to the first day of school. Parents may call the school office or the district transportation office for more information.

For more information about HIDOE’s transportation services and to download the application and handbook, click here.

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