Department of Education Rolling out “Get on Board” Initiative

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is rolling out the first phase of its “Get on Board” initiative, a multi-year, multi-faceted commitment to reform its public school student bus transportation system. The initiative kicks off on the first day of school, Monday, August 5, and will serve as many as 1,000 students at 30 schools who use buses in the Aiea, Moanalua, Pearl City, Radford and Waipahu High complex areas.

School Bus Hawaii
The first phase will reflect routes from last year and includes route restoration to Aiea Heights, Halawa Heights and Waikele Elementary School attendance areas. One of the more significant features of the Get on Board initiative is the use of a technology solution that includes routing software, GPS tracking on the buses, and an updated and contemporary contracting and procurement process. The DOE is planning to implement Get on Board at all Oahu schools by 2014-2015, and then statewide the following school year.

“The pilot areas for Get on Board were strategically chosen by what makes the most fiscal sense, to the department, our bus contractors and taxpayers,” said Ray L’Heureux, assistant superintendent, DOE’s Office of School Facilities and Support Services. “There is a large amount of riders in these areas – enough to give us important data on ridership we need to move forward with our reform efforts.”

In June 2012, the DOE announced 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 and restored a number of the routes, and also contracted Management Partnership Services (MPS) to conduct a study of Hawaii’s student bus transportation system. Earlier this month, Gov. Abercrombie signed into law two Senate bills that give the DOE more flexibility in how it awards its bus contracts. These changes, as detailed in the MPS report, are being implemented with Request for Proposals being finalized this month for the 2014-15 school year.

In addition, the DOE has developed a number of communications protocols between bus vendors, schools, parents and students to ensure the most efficient level of service.

Parents can register their children for bus ridership at their schools. Letters to public school parents are being mailed this week regarding bus registration requirements. The department has established a Get on Board Call Center at 206-7936, or via e-mail at Additional updates can also be found on the DOE’s new website at