The Hawaii State Department of Education's (DOE) announced Tuesday its "Get on Board" student bus transportation pilot is expanding.
The pilot initiative restored service to about 350 students at the beginning of the school year.
Beginning in November, the DOE will start the second "Get on Board" phase to serve about 200 more students from August Ahrens Elementary, Highlands Intermediate, Pearl City High and Waipahu High.
"Like the inaugural phase of Get on Board, this second phase is being offered at no additional cost to our families," said Ray L'Heureux, assistant superintendent of the DOE's Office of School Facilities and Support Services.
For this second phase of "Get on Board," the DOE is working with contractor Tomasa Bus and will for the first time use a "Transfinder" computerized software to determine bus stop times and route directions.
The "Get on Board" initiative is a multi-year, multi-phased commitment by the DOE to reform its public school student bus transportation system.
It kicked off on the first day of school August 5 and has been serving students at 32 schools who ride buses in the Aiea, Moanalua, Pearl City, Radford and Waipahu High complex areas.
For these routes and other routes in the pilot area, the DOE worked with its other participating bus contractors Ground Transportation, Inc. and Gomes Bus Lines, whose buses feature GPS tracking.
The restoration of the additional routes in November increases total ridership in the "Get on Board" pilot area to approximately 4,000 students, and represents a significant step toward full statewide program implementation over the next two school years.
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 in the year, Gov. Abercrombie signed into law two State Senate bills that give the DOE more flexibility in how it awards its bus contracts.
Letters informing parents of the second phase of the Get on Board initiative are being mailed this week to those school communities. Student riders must be registered to receive the bus service.
The department has established a "Get on Board" Call Center at 206-7936; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for additional updates posted on the DOE's website.
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