Guam – DPW says their aging fleet has 212 school buses, but only 91 of them are safe for the roads.
Some bus drivers are pulling double or triple shifts to make up for this bus shortage, but most of the bus runs are late, making children wait to be picked up.
Senator Tom ADA , Chairperson on the Committee of Public Works says , “How do we resolve this immediate problems and what can we do to prevent the current situation from deteriorating any further. “
Friday night (August 20, 2010) Ada held a round table discussion to get a more accurate assessment of what’s going on with the bus operation at DPW and to find out where their short falls are. Ada says there were a some buses that failed the safety inspections because the tires were unsafe. According to Ada, he received information that DPW actually transmitted the necessary documentation to purchase tires as early as Jan of this year, but that had to got to GSA and the original bid of $43,000 was protested .
ADA says, “By the time that situation got untangled and the tires were finally delivered, it was two weeks before school started. there’s no way they were able to change out two hundred tires. So we are starting to find out bits of information like that, so the ball was drop and there’s enough blame to go around, lets just figure out where we are at today and how do we fix it.”
Ada sent a letter to DPW to find out the total number of buses in their fleet and how many are not working.
According to DPW deputy director Jesse Garcia who is over seeing the mass inspection of the school buses says he’s doing the best he can with his aging fleet
Garcia, “The total fleet that we have in our inventory is 212 buses. The majority of them are aging out and beyond repair and what we need to get our kids off to school on time is 130 buses.”
But according to Garcia, out of the 212 buses that DPW has 121 are not in service and at this time they only have 91 buses operating on the roads.
But is 91 enough to get the job done?
According to Garcia, “We are getting by, but we still have a little delays but we are working on trying to get the other buses up with additional parts that we need. The purchase order for essential parts such as batteries, breaks, alternators and radiators have been issued and we are now waiting for them to come in.”
Ada says the bottom line is that we have to get these buses on line because we got school kids waiting at the bus stops for as long as two hours to be picked up. Time is very precious and to have kids standing and milling around at the bus stop for as long as 2 hours, we are asking for trouble. It’s important to get these buses back on line. “
Ada hopes to get a better understanding during Friday night’s round table discussion at 6pm at the Guam legislature public hearing room.