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Video: Councilman Greggor Ilagan on the Bus Fare Increase

Councilman Greggor Ilagan explains his vote.  Video courtesy of Big Island Video News:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/o_i6ri-r73g]

Council Member Ilagan – “I voted to support the Mass Transit System with the goal of…”

“I voted to support the Mass Transit system with the goal of further development of bus routes in Pahoa,” said Hawai’i County Council Member Greggor Ilagan. In a 7-1 vote, one absent, the Hawai’i County Council approved the bus fare increase discussed in Bill 86.

From L-R: June Conant, Council Member Ilagan, Jeanne Seimer

From L-R: June Conant, Council Member Ilagan, Jeanne Seimer

“I can’t ignore the needs of this community. That hitchhiking mother walking down Maku’u with the child strapped to her back will continue to have bus service,” said Council Member Greggor Ilagan, District 4.

Last year Mass Transit provided an astounding 1.2 million rides island-wide. According to Mass Transit Administrator Tiffany Kai, the Puna area accounts for 30 to 40 percent of the ridership. “We have great challenges to face. We are the fastest growing area on the Big Island and the largest county in the state,” said Council Member Ilagan.

“I want keiki to get to school, people to get to their jobs and appointments, and the elderly to go grocery shopping, get to their doctor and visit with family. We need our existing bus routes. But more than that, we need to have even more transportation available for our under-served population,” he said.

Council Member Ilagan wants to increase the number of bus shelters and include more bus routes in Pahoa, specifically Kaloli and Shower Drive, Hawaiian Paradise Park and Ainaloa. The council member would also like to evaluate and assist with getting more accurate bus times for pick up and drop off, in and out of Puna. “I’d like to be able to have a bus leave Hilo later, so that those that work in town can return home on a pau hana bus,” said the councilman.

Since the last fare increase in 2011, bus routes have increased in Hilo, Kona, Waikoloa Village and Hawaiian Paradise Park (HPP). While services increased, the fleet of working buses decreased. Gasoline prices skyrocketed, and overworked mechanics continued to battle with aged and outdated equipment.

Three mechanics struggled to keep routes open, get people to work on time, and kids to school. This continues to be a huge undertaking given the shortfall of funds and the costs associated with providing transport. It costs approximately $7 to provide a ride to a single individual. Bill 86 asks for an increase of $1 to $2 for applicable passengers.

“The bus fare increase will help to maintain services…it is our goal to expand and enhance transportation,” said Kai. Approximately $637,500 will be generated for the General Fund from this increase.

In a few months, Mass Transit will be re-evaluating existing routes. “I want to do whatever I can to ensure continued service and expansion of bus service in Puna,” said Council Member Ilagan.

Please contact Council Member Ilagan with questions, concerns and comments at 808-965-2712, or via e-mail at gilagan@hawaiicounty.gov.

New Hawaiian Paradise Park Bus Route Begins April 1st

Effective April 1, 2013, a change to the Pahoa-Hilo Hele-On Bus route will bring long-awaited service to the residents of Hawaiian Paradise Park.

New Bus Route

On any given day, a young mother has her child strapped to her back, hiking down Maku`u Drive; residents struggle as they hitchhike long distances, and our kupuna become isolated and shut-in. “It’s a dangerous situation,” said Council Member Greggor Ilagan of District 4. “The community needs this bus service to access necessary social and medical services,” said Council Member Ilagan.

The Hilo-bound bus will turn from Highway 130 down Maku’u Drive to 16th, across to Paradise Drive, and back up to Highway 130. The Pahoa-bound bus will turn down Paradise, across 16th, and up Maku’u before continuing on Highway 130 toward Pahoa. The dedicated bus stop will be located at the HPP Activities Center and riders may park their vehicles or bikes there. Flag stopping will be honored where it is safe to do so, however riders should call the transit agency for tips.

“We thank our riders for supporting our Hele-On Bus system. This expansion will have a positive impact on the Hawaiian Paradise Park,” said Acting Administrator of Hawai’i County Mass Transit Agency, Tiffany Kai.

The Hilo-bound bus will run through HPP at 6:25 a.m., 12:05 p.m., and 4:35 p.m. The Pahoa-bound bus will run through HPP at 10:45 a.m., 2:35 p.m., and 4:50 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“This new Hele-On Bus route in HPP is the result of many people working together. I thank the HPP Owners Association’s President June Conant, the Board of Directors, Tiffany Kai and the Hawai’i County Mass Transit Agency, as well as Mayor Billy Kenoi for making this happen,” said Council Member Ilagan. “Serving the community is my priority. We invite everyone to utilize this new route to ensure its success.”

For more information, contact the Hawai’i Mass Transit Agency at www.heleonbus.org, or call 961-8744. Council Member Ilagan of District 4 is available at 965-2712.