MEO steps up to help Molokaʻi students amid public school bus driver shortage
Maui Economic Opportunity on Moloka‘i has stepped in to offer transportation services to youths who could not be accommodated by the public school bus service.
The state Department of Education sent out an email to families last week indicating that about 17 students on two central Kaunakakai routes were being put on a waitlist for rides on the school bus due to a driver shortage.
To fill the gap, MEO Transportation on Moloka‘i will accommodate students on its 9 a.m. rural shuttle from the Mitchell Pauole Center, which should arrive at Molokaʻi High in time for the 9:30 a.m. school start, said MEO Moloka‘i Branch Manager Mahie McPherson.
Students will not be penalized for arriving late due to the bus, the DOE said.
On Tuesday, Sept. 6, MEO will start a youth bus route from Molokaʻi High, leaving at 2:30 p.m., and ending at Molokaʻi Library & Youth Center. McPherson said that the route was being confirmed with the DOE. Students will need to obtain an MEO Youth Bus Pass.
The rides are offered at no cost. The rural shuttle is funded by the County of Maui.
About eight students currently use the rural shuttle to get to school, McPherson said. As word gets around, an increase in student ridership is anticipated. DOE will be sending emails to the wait-listed families to alert them of the MEO option.
MEO is flexible to respond to the community’s needs, said McPherson. Should the need arise, a backup driver and bus could accommodate spillover riders or a larger school bus could be deployed. If there is a need, a youth bus route could be set up for the morning run.
“As a provider of transportation services, we understand the driver shortage problem,” said MEO CEO Debbie Cabebe in an organization press release. “We are happy to step in and fill a need for families on Moloka‘i. Children need to be in school, especially after the last couple of years of the pandemic.”
For more information about MEO Transportation on Moloka‘i, call 808-553-3218.