Michael Kini, who has driven paratransit buses for the last five years without an accident, was named Maui Economic Opportunity’s 2020 Driver of the Year.
The announcement was made by Carol Davis and Chason Ishii of Atlas Insurance, which sponsors the cash award and plaque, during MEO’s General Staff and Annual Recognition Awards virtual gathering Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.
Kini drives an eight-passenger cutaway bus, which can transport up to two wheelchair passengers. He has received compliments from riders, who have expressed “joy” in having him as their driver, and has a clean personal driving record as well, Davis noted.
Other drivers were recognized for their cumulative accident-free driving records and received bonuses in MEO’s Cash for No Crash program.
In addition, MEO added two new drivers this week, Marlon Castillo, who completed his license Tuesday, and Owateka Ward, who got her license Wednesday. MEO runs a training program for prospective drivers to obtain their Commercial Driver’s License. Drivers are paid during the training period and offered jobs with MEO after receiving their CDL.
The 55-year-old Community Action Partnership nonprofit agency runs the Maui Bus ADA paratransit service through a contract with Maui County and operates human services transportation, providing rides for seniors, persons with disabilities, youths and residents in rural areas throughout Maui County.