The Bus Will Probably Start Charging Soon

In October, I asked the transportation director how long the buses would be free:

…We had the opportunity to ask questions and I asked how long the buses would remain free.  And the Counties reply was that the free rides were funded until the end of 2009. He didn’t expand on anything past that…

Today’s Hawaii Tribune, Jason Armstrong reports:

The Finance Committee also is scheduled to take up a proposal to charge passengers $1 apiece to ride the county’s free Hele-On buses.

Instituting the one-way fare would raise $700,000 a year, Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong recently told the Tribune-Herald in floating the idea

Between the Transportation director and the County Council… to me it seems like it’s going to be a no-brainer for them.

However, I see this backfiring big time!

Many people that ride the bus, well at least in Puna, ride it as a means to get basic services that they don’t have.  Many folks simply don’t have a $1.00 at times here in this district and are riding the free bus… just to pick up free food or other basic necessities.

In case people missed it

Emily Naeole was able to divert some of the Geothermal Funds to get another route through the areas affected by the geothermal plant.

I say we should keep the buses free! When the transportation director was initially talking about this… the cost of gas was skyrocketing. It has since stabilized.

By the way… anyone seen the Maui Buses:


Also curious about how many people know about this little program the county is running:

…In addition, the Transit Agency offers a Shared Ride Taxi program which provides door to door transportation for as little as $2.00 within the urbanized area of Hilo.

And whatever happened to those cute little sampans that were running around Hilo?


2 Responses

  1. Once they start charging for normal ridership,
    how much will it cost to collect the money?

    The first big computer was built by the “Telephone Company” to keep track of the calls and be able to bill the customer.

  2. I think that sampan is great! I would pay to ride in that!

    Having free transportation on this big old island of ours is one terrific thing. And it also gives people a good reason to share a ride instead of driving, creating pollution and driving their own cars. It is even amazing to me that there is a bus, let alone a free bus that can get you from one side of the island to the other and one that also makes stops whenever you hail them down.

    Would $1 be that much of a hardship on anyone? And would transfers be free? I doubt it. But I still like living in a place with a free bus system even though I have never used it. The problem with charging is that it sets a precedent and eventually they will start raising fares and limiting services like nearly every public transit authority has been forced to do. I at least hope that they will issue passes to Children and Seniors like most cities do.

    They could find a more creative way to fund the buses, but I doubt that they are going to do that.

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