Guam – If you went to school on Guam twenty years ago, the bus you rode on might be covering the island’s roads today.
The Department of Public Works is showcasing its 1990 Blue Bird today [Thursday]. The bus was parked outside the Legislature this morning to allow Senators to look at the bus ahead of an informational briefing on the fleet this evening. DPW Maintenance Shop worker Fred Fernandez says he helped modify the bus’ radiator on Monday to keep the oldest bus in the department in operation.
“The mechanics were able to remove the old radiator ’cause it had leaks and they took a 1992 model radiator which is completely different they re-routed the hoses got it to mount in and installed it,” said Fernandez. “We did have to cut just for access to the deck and its just working good like that.”
The bus currently operates out of the Dededo Substation and makes six runs a day.
DPW Superintendent of Transportation and Maintenance Paul Cepeda says 114 buses are currently operational out of the Department’s fleet of 130. The other 16 buses are waiting for parts to come in so they can be repaired and returned to the roads. Cepeda hopes the public hearing will make lawmakers aware of the Departments need for new buses.
“Our problem now is the buses are starting to rust the body’s starting to rust,” said Cepeda. “Thats why we’re here to ask the senators for help. Help us find funding to purchase new buses because I don’t think they want their grand kids riding these old buses that are slowly falling apart.”
Oversight Committee on Public Works and Transportation Chair Senator Tom Ada says tonight’s briefing will give a more accurate picture on DPW’s ability to repair and maintain its fleet.
“I believe only ten buses are newer than ten years old,” Ada said of DPW’s fleet.
The senator hopes tonight’s discussion will give lawmakers a “point of departure” of where to go from here to help the department continue serving the island’s schoolchildren.