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Normal school bus service restored

Normal school bus service has been restored to two previously consolidated routes that were disrupted earlier this year when bus routes were suspended because of a shortage of drivers with commercial driver’s licenses, the state Department of Education reported Friday.

The recently restored routes affect students at Maui High and Maui Waena Intermediate schools, public school officials said. One of the bus routes makes morning and afternoon runs between subdivisions in Kihei and Maui High School. The other route serves Maui Waena students in areas of Kahului and Wailuku.

The announcement ends a school bus crisis that went on for five weeks, beginning at the start of this school year. In early August, 380 students saw bus service suspended to Baldwin High, Iao Intermediate and Lahainaluna High schools. Consolidated routes delayed bus service for students at Maui High and Maui Waena.

Oahu-based Ground Transport won a seven-year contract to provide school bus service to the Baldwin, Maui and Lahainaluna school complexes, but the new contractor had difficulty securing drivers because of delays in confirming its contract and because drivers had not switched over from previous vendor Roberts Hawaii as expected.

Parents were left scrambling to make other transportation arrangements for their children, and school administrators needed to accommodate late-arriving students.

While all suspended bus routes were restored by Sept. 12, consolidated routes at Maui High and Maui Waena remained in place until Friday’s announcement.

Drivers with commercial driver’s licenses still may apply for work by contacting the Student Transportation Services Branch at (808) 586-0170. Interested drivers without a commercial permit also are being sought. The driver training and testing process remains open and takes approximately three weeks to complete.

For more information, call the Get On Board hotline at (808) 586-0161, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.