LIHUE — The Department of Education still has a shortage of school bus drivers on Kauai and Maui a week into the school year.
Kauai is short eight drivers and Maui is short 15, according to DOE spokeswoman Lindsay Chambers.
Kauai public school bus contractors Akita Enterprises and Yamaguchi Services did not respond to TGI’s multiple requests for comment as to why there is shortage in the first place.
Last week, TGI found that Kauai had a shortage of 20 bus drivers, and the DOE was having trouble finding drivers to fill up the void left by Akita Enterprises and Yamaguchi Services.
On Wednesday, West Maui lawmaker Rep. Angus McKelvey called on Gov. David Ige to step in and make his presence known regarding the lack of bus drivers on the neighbor islands, particularly Maui.
“The situation is completely unacceptable, especially when you consider all the Lahainaluna High School students that need access to a campus that is not readily serviced by other transportation means including a county bus route,” McKelvey said in a press release. “The bus shortage has exasperated an already existing traffic problem as parents are now scrambling to get kids to school by their own means before the workday.”
McKelvey doesn’t think the shortage is fair on students or parents. He also doesn’t understand why this issue wasn’t addressed earlier.
“The lack of qualified drivers for certain routes should also have been disclosed during the procurement process,” he said. “Especially when it is a new Oahu based vendor that has never provided any transportation for the schools in Maui before.”
Last week, Percy Higashi, president and COO of Roberts Hawaii, told TGI that rosters of drivers from the contractors were supposed to be submitted to the DOE by July 24 to ensure they had enough drivers for the new school year.