More School Buses On the Road, But Money for Repairs to Keep Them There is Running Out


Guam- The Department of Public Works (DPW) officials want to have more school buses operational before the end of the month because only $28,963 is left to lease buses. The money also must be reimbursed into DPW’s fuel account. Currently, the Division of Bus Operations brought the number of functioning buses up from 88 to 110 vehicles. They also brought down the number of leased buses from 10 to 6.

Transportation and Maintenance Superintendent Paul Cepeda says nearly $248,963.00 has been spent leasing buses since October 2010- January 2011. He also says estimated costs to maintain DPW’s fleet of 138 buses is around $1.2 million.

While he says they are stocking up on more than 350 new tires before summer, Cepeda mentions DPW needs to invest in proper tools for their bus mechanics. As it stands now, bus employees have created makeshift tools to do their jobs, despite budget requests through the years. Cepeda also speaks about his concerns with the buses they are repairing now, noting they hope to pick up 7 more buses before the end of this week

“We are finding a lot of problems now with the flooring and the steps of the school bus front entrance” said Cepeda. “So we’re working on those now. It’s going to take a little time to get up, but we’re repairing those as we speak now. Like the director said, the money we have now is considered spent.”

DPW Director Joanne Brown mentions they’re also going to be ordering 20 engines to be installed in the buses.

“That will make a tremendous difference once those engines are on island and they’re installed” said Brown. “I believe all that work will go out to private companies that are going to be doing it.”

However, she adds the procurement documents must be finalized by the Attorney General and sent to the general services agency, which may take a couple more months.

Brown says her agency is working with their oversight chair, Senator Tom Ada, on the bus repair and funding situation. Under public law, DPW was provided $1.8 million to address those repairs.

Brown also says she is talking with Agat Mayor Carol Tayama on re-establishing a southern satellite bus station soon to save on fuel costs.