Editor’s note: This article is part of a series on Hawaii’s runaway school bus costs. Read other articles on the topic published today.

Tracking what has happened with Hawaii’s school bus contracts is challenging because there are so many variables involved.

Civil Beat built a database tracking more than 100 contracts over the past 11 years. In the table below, we highlight the only four contracts where the data was entirely clean. All contracts that changed over time, even slightly, were eliminated.

If even one route in a contract was “idled” — meaning a contract went from, for example, four routes to three — we did not include that contract in this particular table. If a contract was split into three smaller contracts in a subsequent re-bid, we did not consider any of those contracts. If a contract was discontinued, we did not consider it. And if various routes in a contract had different prices, we didn’t use that contract because it was impossible to know the exact cost for each route at the end of the contract. The Hawaii Department of Education uses a formula to adjust the cost each year based on increases in fuel prices, wages and inflation.

No approximating. No guessing. No extrapolating.

Once we were done eliminating the variables, just four contracts were left. These contracts cover the same routes and same schools they did in the original bid. They’re even controlled by the same contractor as they were previously. Only two things have changed, from a contract perspective. One: These contracts went from competitive-bid to single-bid. Two: The prices went up overnight. Way up.

Contractor Region No. of routes Start Year Start Daily Price/Route End Year End Daily Price/Route Average New Contract Start Price/Route Overnight Increase Percentage
Roberts Hawaii West Hawaii 2 2003 $158.55 2008 $199.84 $584.00 192.2%
Roberts Hawaii West Hawaii 2 2003 $187.95 2008 $232.66 $584.00 151.0%
Akita Enterprises East Hawaii 5 2002 $158.00 2007 $194.53 $387.00 98.9%
Akita Enterprises East Hawaii 3 2002 $149.00 2007 $185.05 $348.00 88.1%

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