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School buses have mass inspection

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - The Attorney General's Office is forcing the Department of Public Works to come into compliance with bus inspections. As a result of a meeting held between the two agencies, DPW has schedule a mass inspection today to ensure all buses pass inspections. As such, 13 buses were inspected with an additional one being re-inspected.  

Bus driver Jesus Naputi transports students attending Catholic schools everyday to southern villages.  "For both of us Inarajan drivers at Station 4, there's no problem. We're going to pass this test. In fact, my bus is due on October, but I don't know it's best that we have it inspected," he shared.  

While he conducts his own inspections everyday, he says it's important for all buses to undergo safety inspections like everyone else.  "It's very important because the safety of all the children and if the bus failed on the road, and we're liable for the kids. The Government of Guam will have to pay for the damage for these kids," he added.  

While parents have voiced concerns about the safety of these buses, a mass inspection was held up north to ensure no buses go on Guam's roadways with expired registration tags.

Supervisor for Station 1 in Dededo George Superales says several buses were brought in today. While some arriving for inspection weren't expired for another few months, he says those buses are going through inspection anyways.  He noted, "These come from all over. We have eight satellites, so everyone is coming up to be inspected this morning."

Geno's and Anthony's Auto Services part-owner Anthony Tamayo says inspection includes ensuring tires aren't worn out, that lights work correctly and that emergency buzzers are properly working.  "Most of it is just the buzzers, most of these buses are old," he speculated.  "So it's just the emergency buzzers. Some of them are the tires. Not much, but I found a few. It's not safe to go around with bald tires."

Tamayo says the mass inspection was held in Dededo to ensure all the buses can be inspected at the same time, and in the same location. A total of 13 buses were inspected with an additional one being re-inspected.

In the meantime, DPW Deputy Director Jess Garcia says more than 20 buses were parked for inspection. He says most of them have had issues due to age.  "You see, the buses we have, our fleet, the buses range from 1990. That's the oldest bus we have online. So that's how bad the aging of our fleet is. We need to replace them out already. Buses that are older, parts become more hard to get. The public do not manufacture parts for these buses already."

DPW says they're supposed to have 130 buses up and running, but only 95 are operating.

The buses that are down have major problems like broken transmissions and alternators. The inspector is expected to complete more inspections tomorrow.

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