Under new pilot program, Hawaii high schoolers can apply for free county bus passes

The state Department of Education announced a pilot program Monday to expand transportation options to high school students across the four counties amid a scho
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 2:32 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 12, 2022 at 3:26 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Education announced a pilot program Monday to expand transportation options to high school students across the four counties amid a school bus driver shortage.

“We’ve unfortunately had to suspend and consolidate routes on Kauai, Maui, Hawaii Island and here on Oahu,” said DOE superintendent Keith Hayashi, in a news conference on Monday. “The main issue is a shortage of qualified school bus drivers. This is a nationwide challenge affecting school districts across the country.”

Under EXPRESS — short for Expanding Ridership to Educate Students in Schools — participants can receive a county bus pass directly through their school.

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Oahu students will receive a county pass valid through July 2023. The City and County of Honolulu will be funding the cost of passes for June and July 2023.

Students on Kauai, Maui and Hawaii Island will receive passes good for each month through July 2023.

“The goal is to increase high school student ridership on county bus services so that underutilized school buses can be reassigned to restore canceled and consolidated routes,” Hayashi said.

Expanding free bus transportation services to all high schoolers would also benefit more than 21,000 students — or 47% of high school students — who are currently ineligible because they live within the walk zone of their school campus.

High schoolers in grades 9 through 12 who are interested can sign up online starting Monday by clicking here.