by Krystal Paco
Guam - With the new school year quickly approaching, officials from the Department of Public Works reported to lawmakers last night on the status of the school bus fleet.
DPW superintendent of transportation maintenance Paul Cepeda said, "By school opening we'll have roughly about 118 school buses ready to go. We have about 6 engines pending. If that comes anytime soon before school opens, we can also get those up and running."
And as DPW superintendent of bus operations Frank Taitano reports, it's a daily scramble to ensure close to 40,000 public and private school students are serviced every day with their short fleet and shortage of bus drivers. Taitano says DPW would best operate with 179 buses and bus drivers.
Taitano said, "We got to look and see where there are more schools. For example, Dededo. They have six or seven elementaries verses Tamuning we only have two. We'll have the drivers in Tamuning do a double or triple run and make the ones in Dededo more complete because that's a further distance. That's how we've been working it. All the drivers - it may not happen for high school - but for elementary they do two, three, sometimes four runs."
As a result, oversight chair for transportation Michael San Nicolas has requested the agency provide this plan to his committee in order to better communicate with parents.
Meanwhile, DPW adds there are new challenges this school year, including servicing the Guahan Academy Charter School opening in Tiyan as well as the request to service Southern Christian Academy.