Honolulu folks set to take advantage of free bus fares

According to the city, bus usage dropped about 40% after the COVID pandemic. When school resumes in a few weeks, it will target young drivers to reduce traffic. TheBus users can ride for free for five days from August 22-26, when the fall semester begins at the University of Hawaii.

“Our intention because we know that during the back to school season we all got used to this very light traffic during the summer, even during the COVID period, but we know that this will not last forever,” said the director of the department. of Honolulu Transportation Services, Roger Morton.

The cost of the $2 Holo card will also be temporarily suspended by the city, 39 express bus lines that were canceled due to COVID will be reinstated, and a new line will be established to connect express buses to schools such as UH, Chaminade and Kapiolani. Community college.

“The more frequent the public transport system, the more attractive it is for people who can now have this freedom to travel whenever they want. This is how we move people from cars to public transit,” said John Andoh, County Administrator of Hawaii Mass Transit.

Hawaii County has pledged to provide free rides on the Hele-On bus through the end of 2023. Andoh estimates that could save customers up to $660.

He says Hawaii County received 5% of its revenue from fares, which was reduced to 1-2% by fares collection and billing expenses. Instead, the county is now supporting the program with $6.4 million in federal funds.

“When you really look at the grand scheme of things, using grant funds to cover the cost of fares seems to be more cost effective than collecting them themselves,” Andoh said.

To avoid merry driving, they have established laws requiring Hele-On Bus passengers to have a destination and intend to have security guards on board for their safety.

Funds must be found to extend the program beyond 2023.

“If we determine this program is successful, to see if the county council would consider funding transit, using whatever other funding sources we can identify,” Andoh said.

The city council’s transportation committee approved Honolulu’s no-cost program, but it still needs to be approved by the full city council on Aug. 10.

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