School buses run smoothly on first day of school
With students heading back to school, the Department of Public Works had about 70 buses making double runs to accommodate early start schedules.
DPW Director Vince Arriola says that bus operations went smoothly. There was a lot of planning and preparations went into ensuring things were coordinated properly.
"Both in terms of our human resources, our bus drivers, our administrative staff and of course the buses in general," he said.
Arriola did note that the only hiccup was the back to school rush that created a lot of traffic, overcrowded school parking lots, which caused some delays.
"We had a lot of parents or caregivers, they didn't just drop off their children, for the most part, they parked and lots of them would walk their children in, get them acclimated to the teacher, introduce the teacher, show them to the classroom so," Arriola said. "I understand there was a huge traffic jam up at Okkodo the traffic went all the way out to Marine Drive.: Because of that, we had some buses getting the students there a little late... but not too late."
Arriola says that he was confident that the team at bus operations would be able to get the job done despite the challenges.
"These guys are, they're fairly experienced in all of this, so you know, they know to run ship," he said. "Especially with me here now, we're going to run a real tight ship and make sure we service our clients. Because they're the most precious, they're children."
Some new buses just arrived and Arriola is hoping to procure a few more per his commitment to bring in 10 new buses each year. He hopes that within the next four-to-five years the department will have a "full complement of buses." As for the old buses, he explains how they will be phased out.
"It depends, you know," Arriola said. "Some of them, typical GovGuam procurement and supply rules and regs, we either surplus them or donate them. We'll see what condition they're in."
Although some of the old buses are mechanically sound the director said getting new and modern buses tend to be more fuel-efficient, which saves GovGuam money in the long haul. Another feat DPW pulled off over the weekend was the demolition of the derelict buildings at Benavente Middle School.
"We had been asked by the superintendent to give them a hand on this and that was a very big project," Arriola said. "We got it done just at the start of the school year. You know it required us bringing in an excavator, taking out the walls and the steel beams, and things like that. They really were a hazard to the children so I'm sure the folks at Benavente Middle School are much happier now."