New MEO Buses Blessed
Four new Maui Economic Opportunity buses that will be used to transport Maui youth, seniors and persons with disabilities were blessed on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at the MEO baseyard in Puʻunēnē.
The 29-passenger buses were purchased by the County of Maui for a total of $570,000 as part of the 2019-2020 fiscal year budget, prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are replacements for buses that are more than 12 years old.
One of the buses will be used for youth as young as preschool age and includes integrated child safety seats. This particular bus was purchased for $135,000.
The other three buses are Americans with Disabilities Act accessible with two wheelchair slots. The buses, which cost $145,000 each, will be used as rural shopping shuttles and to transport persons with disabilities living outside the three-quarter mile paratransit service area.
The new buses are equipped with Mor Ryde suspension systems to reduce vibration and shock for a smoother ride and an automatic door opener for wheelchair access.
In 2020, MEO Transportation provided more than 357,000 rides throughout Maui County. MEO runs the Maui Bus ADA paratransit service through a contract with Maui County. The nonprofit agency also operates human services transportation, providing rides for seniors, persons with disabilities, youths and residents in rural areas throughout Maui County.
Transportation is only one sector of MEO. The nonprofit Community Action Agency formed 55 years ago and offers programs countywide for business development; workforce preparation, substance abuse prevention and Head Start; senior club coordination; rental and energy assistance; and integration of formerly incarcerated individuals into the community.