Kauai News

School bus driver shortage to impact four schools, 250 students on Kauaʻi

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School bus

The continuing shortage of qualified school bus drivers in Hawaiʻi will completely or partially suspend bus transportation services at four schools on Kauaʻi and 10 of Oʻahu’s 24 high schools when the new school year begins for students on Aug. 7.

The high schools listed below will rely heavily on county bus systems for student transportation during the 2023-24 School Year.


  • Kapaʻa High
  • Kapaʻa Middle
  • Kapaʻa Elementary
  • Hanalei Elementary


  • ʻAiea High  
  • Campbell High (3 of 4 school bus routes suspended)
  • Castle High 
  • Kailua High 
  • Kapolei High 
  • Mililani High
  • Nānākuli High & Intermediate (all high school bus routes suspended, intermediate school routes will continue) 
  • Pearl City High 
  • Waiʻanae High 
  • Waipahu High 

All students at these high schools will be provided with subsidized county bus passes to use on the Kauai Bus or TheBus on Oʻahu for transportation as part of the Expanding Ridership to Educate Students in Schools (EXPRESS) program. 

High school bus routes on the Big Island and Maui have been modified due to the bus driver shortages, but school bus service will continue. School bus routes on Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi are currently not affected. School bus routes on all islands are subject to change should further staffing shortages occur.


“The continued shortage of school bus drivers in Hawaiʻi and across the nation requires the temporary reduction of high school bus routes to ensure that bus services can continue for special education and younger students,” said Hawaiʻi Department of Education Assistant Superintendent Randy Tanaka. “We ask our students and families for their continued patience and understanding and we truly appreciate the support of our county partners in making county bus routes a priority option for our students.”

The press release from the Department of Education did not say how the kids from the elementary and middle schools on Kauaʻi would be transported. The department could not be immediately reached for further information.

Based on student ridership from the last school year, approximately 250 student bus riders on Kauaʻi and 1,130 high school student bus riders on Oʻahu will be impacted.


Among eight bus service contractors statewide, an estimated 226 additional drivers are needed to fully staff school bus routes. Over the last school year, 76 school bus drivers have left their positions.

Since the disruptions to the labor force in both Hawaiʻi and nationwide caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education has reached out to mainland bus operators, tour bus operators, the National Guard and firefighters to recruit qualified bus drivers.

All of these groups were unable to assist due to their own staffing shortages and liability issues. Bus service contractors are continuing to offer hiring bonuses, pay incentives and increased benefits to attract and recruit new drivers.

Families at impacted schools are being contacted by their respective school administrations with detailed route information and guidance.


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