Additional buses to begin picking up LHS students this week
LAHAINA – The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) reported that school bus contractors are making progress to address the current shortage of Commercial Driver Licensed (CDL) drivers on Maui and Kauai qualified to operate school buses, and two bus routes for Lahainaluna High School will start running this week.
LHS bus routes FR 11A and FR 11B were scheduled to be restored to service on Monday morning.
The single route makes two morning runs. The first serves the Kapalua area on Lower Honoapiilani Road from Kapalua Drive, beginning at 6:33 a.m., and drops off students at the school at 7 a.m.
The second morning run on Ainakea Road in Lahaina begins at Kaniau Road at 7:10 a.m. and drops off the second set of students at 7:25 a.m.
In the afternoons, the bus will make two runs from the school as route FR11BP at 1:55 p.m. to Ainakea Road and at 2:30 p.m. as route FR11AP to the Kapalua area.
Lahainaluna High School’s restored route is in addition to two routes already operating that also service Lahaina Intermediate School and Princess Nahi’ena’ena Elementary School.
The first runs to Honokahau Valley and the second to the Olowalu area.
School bus routes servicing more distant communities will be prioritized as more routes are restored, HIDOE reported last week Thursday.
Maui’s shortage of qualified school bus drivers is currently at 11 – down from 20 two weeks ago.
Routes at Lahainaluna, Baldwin High School and Iao Intermediate have been temporarily suspended, and routes have been consolidated to adjust to the staffing shortages.
According to HIDOE, several driver candidates are currently in the licensing process, and routes will be restored as they enter service.
For a limited time, school bus contractors are offering hiring bonuses and increased wages. Interested CDL drivers should contact the Student Transportation Services Branch at (808) 586-0170 as soon as possible.
Interested drivers without a CDL are also sought. The CDL training and testing process is open and takes approximately three weeks to complete.
“The department is working hard with our school bus contractors to return affected routes to service, and we anticipate more routes to come online in the coming weeks,” said Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson.
“We truly appreciate the patience shown by our parents, students and staff during this time.”
For questions about school bus registration, route or service concerns statewide, call the Get On Board Hotline at (808) 586-0161.
The Lahainaluna High School administration and security had a plan in place to deal with the sudden suspension of busing service for most of its students before the 2017-18 school year opened on Aug. 8.
Principal Lynn Kaho’ohalahala said proactive measures include directing three lanes of traffic into the school parking lot, creating additional parking for student drivers and dismissing “tardies” for students who arrive late until the situation is resolved.
The community has been very supportive, she said, and the potentially aggravating situation has been handled well by parents and students.
“I appreciate all the parents and their patience with this situation, and I think it will be worked out,” Principal Kaho’ohalahala said last week Thursday.
Busing was not impacted for students in Honokohau Valley, Olowalu and Launiupoko.
Four days before the school year began, the Hawaii State Department of Education surprised parents and guardians of students at Lahainaluna, Baldwin High and Iao Intermediate who depend on school bus routes serving grades 9 to 12 by informing them that they should find alternate rides.