Council considering changing school bus stop application process

LIHUE — Kauai is the only county that processes applications for school bus stops.

The process in place now is that when someone wants to move a bus stop, they have to go before the county council, fill out an application, which gets sent over to the Department of Public Works. The department then has to go to the site and put up a sign, said Mel Rapozo, council chair.

He is hoping to change that.

“The sad reality is that demographics of the schools change quite frequently,” he said. “You get a family that moves from one school, and it affects where school bus stops are going to be.”

On Wednesday, the Kauai County Council discussed Bill No. 2661, which wants to give the authority to establish bus stops to the state of Hawaii.

“To me, it makes perfect sense. We don’t have a say in where a bus stop is going to be. The school makes that determination,” Rapozo said.

During the meeting, Lyle Tabata, acting county engineer, said the measure streamlines the process for the Hawaii Department of Education of changing around bus stops as it’s needed.

“It will allow the DOE more flexibility,” he said. “In time, a subdivision ages, and the youth aren’t of the age that use the bus as transportation, as opposed to a subdivision that is newer.”

The Department of Public Works will work with the HIDOE to make safety and other recommendations, Tabata added.

Councilman Ross Kagawa hopes the measure will help improve school bus services at the county and state levels.

“What we need, when we grapple with difficult problems is efficiency, and if the head of DOE bus service has said this is a way to make it more efficient, thank you for this change,” he said. “We certainly don’t need bus problems amongst the other problems we have on the island.”

A public hearing on Bill No. 2661 is scheduled Sept. 6.

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