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Caldwell unveils plan to restore city bus service

By Marcel Honoré

LAST UPDATED: 07:03 p.m. HST, Feb 27, 2013

After hearing hundreds of complaints from bus riders facing longer waits to catch overcrowded buses, city leaders unveiled today a plan to reverse many of last year’s cost-saving service changes to TheBus.

The reversals outlined by Mayor Kirk Caldwell will roll out in phases this year, in March, May and August. They mostly consist of restoring how often buses pass. But they also restore some original routes and extend another one that helped replace Route B. That route, a popular option for commuters to Waikiki, was eliminated last year but won’t be restored under today’s announced plan.

The unveiling follows outcry from city bus passengers across Honolulu – including many senior and disabled riders – who say the changes make it more difficult to get to appointments, work, school and other destinations around town, even as they spend more of their day waiting for the bus.

"It throws off a lot of working people, a lot of school kids that live in our area, a lot of senior citizens with doctor's appointments," Manoa resident Donald Au said earlier this month. Au, whose family relies on Route 5, was one of several residents to circulate petitions last year that garnered hundreds of signatures in support of overturning the changes.

Caldwell’s plan will restore Route 5’s original schedule in May. He pledged to reverse the changes during his campaign last year, and after he was elected the city’s Department of Transportation Services started weighing options. Last month, Caldwell and his DTS director, Michael Formby, met with concerned residents for more input. Many riders have kept the issue alive by testifying at public meetings.

Here’s a summary of the proposed reversals:

March 23:

» Restore weekend and holiday service to every 30 minutes along Route C, which runs from Makaha to Kapolei to Ala Moana Center

» For Route 14, which runs from St. Louis Heights to Waialae Avenue to Maunalani Heights, restore peak-hour service to every 40 minutes, and off-peak and weekend service to every hour. The original Diamond Head route will be restored for off-peak and weekend service.


» For Route C, restore weekday service to every 30 minutes

» For Route 55, which runs from Ala Moana Center to Kaneohe to Haleiwa, restore mid-day service to every 45 minutes.

» Extend Route 1L, which runs from Kalihi to Hawaii Kai, to the School Street Corridor. That route used to be served by Route B, which was cut and is not listed to be reinstated.

» Add weekday peak-hour trips on 2L, which also travels the former Route B

» For Route 5, which runs from Manoa to Ala Moana, morning peak-hour service to every 30 minutes.


» For Route 13, which runs from Liliha to Waikiki to University of Hawaii, Manoa restore service to every 15 minutes.

The bus cuts and other service changes began this past June. They aimed to save up to $7 million a year by adjusting 21 bus routes. Even with those savings, the city expects that fuel costs for bus service will increase by about $3 million this year.

City policy requires that fares paid by riders cover between 27 percent and 33 percent of the cost of operating TheBus, with city taxpayers subsidizing the system by paying most of the rest of the cost. That taxpayer subsidy for TheBus operations will be about $135 million this fiscal year.

Today’s unveiling doesn’t address all the issues residents have raised. For example, it doesn’t propose reversing the changes to Route E, which last year saw its leg to Waikiki eliminated. In August, Ewa Beach resident Geri Padilla, a desk clerk at a Waikiki hotel, presented the City Council with 639 signatures urging the city to restore the full service.

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allie wrote:
I hope he delivers on the promise. We need the excellent bus system much more than we need the outdated, incorrectly routed rail system
on February 27,2013 | 10:32AM
Grimbold wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on February 27,2013 | 01:40PM
OldDiver wrote:
Mayor Caldwell is listening to the people and coming up with solutions as promised. This of course pains Cayetano supporters. Get used to it.
on February 27,2013 | 02:19PM
pakeheat wrote:
You are assuming Cayetano will try to run again OD? LOL.
on February 27,2013 | 03:52PM
Allie, again you have no clue. The bus system will work in conjuction WITH the rail to move our community to and from. Next, outdated? in what respect?
on February 27,2013 | 05:12PM
fairgame947 wrote:
Sounds like Caldwell is trying to fix several items left undone in the past. BUT, where's the $$$$$ coming from?
on February 27,2013 | 10:36AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
So glad Honolulu made the right choice for Mayor. Otherwise we would line in HoNONONO.
on February 27,2013 | 05:27PM
Bdpapa wrote:
I didn't see any restoration to the North Shore route.
on February 27,2013 | 10:37AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
I think they expect North Shore residents to walk to the Ho'opili rail station and take the train.

So much for restoring bus service.
on February 27,2013 | 11:07AM
You could run to the bus station.
on February 27,2013 | 05:15PM
Mikehono wrote:
Route 55 covers the North Shore.
on February 27,2013 | 11:54AM
sailfish1 wrote:
The City cuts bus service saying there is no money. The City restores bus service - did the City find some money? This wishy-washy action is wasting the taxpayers money. Get back the bus money that was taken and placed in the Rail budget and quit playing the people as fools. I'm so happy that Carlisle and his DTS director Yoshioka are gone!
on February 27,2013 | 11:10AM
OldDiver wrote:
No money was taken from the bus budget and given to rail. Time to let go of the phony election claim.
on February 27,2013 | 01:27PM
localguy wrote:
Actually this is a phony HART/Grabby Boy claim, they did not raid The Bus funding. They know otherwise, always got their sticky fingers out to rip off taxpayer.
on February 27,2013 | 02:22PM
OldDiver wrote:
on February 27,2013 | 04:34PM
jm3 wrote:
more and more tourists are riding the bus too... maybe we should charge them since they dont know how to rent cars anymore!!!
on February 27,2013 | 11:19AM
aomohoa wrote:
So it's better if there are more cars on the road, driven by people who don't know where they're going? Stupid comment jm3.
on February 27,2013 | 07:11PM
gsc wrote:
Thank You Mayor, At least you are starting somewhere.
on February 27,2013 | 11:20AM
serious wrote:
Raise the senior yearly rate to $100--yes I am a senior on a fixed budget--and restore the "B".
on February 27,2013 | 11:22AM
Kuniarr wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on February 27,2013 | 11:34AM
allie wrote:
on February 27,2013 | 12:16PM
Guess you didnt see the Feds giving hawaii (not sure the amount) but seem to remember about 149million. Not sure what you call it, but I'd call it $$$$!!!
on February 27,2013 | 05:18PM
kennysmith wrote:
on February 27,2013 | 11:45AM
Skyler wrote:
Stop SHOUTing and ffs use spell-check.... seriously.
on February 27,2013 | 01:06PM
steveoctober wrote:
Yea, let's pay bus drivesr $2.50 an hour and see what kind of quality drivers you get. Hint: Expect to get punched in the face upon boarding. Will you be the first to hop onboard ?
on February 27,2013 | 03:17PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
This is good news and shows good sense on the part of Caldwell.
on February 27,2013 | 12:24PM
Thank you Maneki!
on February 27,2013 | 05:18PM
Ewaduffer wrote:
Does not reinstate the B route and will not place the E route back to what it was before??? You missed two things vital to getting this mess cleaned up.
on February 27,2013 | 01:15PM
localguy wrote:
I hope all goes well for The Bus riders, Caldwell fixes the fiasco others created. And speaking of "others" they should not be rewarded with any pay raises or bonuses for willfully creating this fiasco. Their performance evaluations will reflect their failure. Knowing full well it would not work, would inconvenience riders. What were they thinking. Kaching for Caldwell. Make it so.
on February 27,2013 | 02:20PM
spaka59 wrote:
How about route #93-Makaha Valley to Alapai Transit? Can we get a longer bus since it's the only EXPRESS for WAIANAE. Would be greatly appreciated. The route C takes forever anyways if it goes through Kapolei.
on February 27,2013 | 02:44PM
sellwin wrote:
on February 27,2013 | 03:09PM
I think a more logical statement would be "start spending money on the things we need, and stop the things we dont!"
on February 27,2013 | 05:20PM
Hugo wrote:
The service is terrible but the online schedule appears to have no relationship to reality in Waikiki. An accurate schedule would be appreciated.
on February 27,2013 | 03:15PM
pakeheat wrote:
I have the iphone app and sometimes it is not accurate also, especially the buses that don't have GPS
on February 27,2013 | 03:55PM
Pukele wrote:
When will the Mayor let the bus riders know about the massive changes that are required to get bus riders to switch to rail? The secret plan outlines over 30,000 riders per day who will be forced to switch from their bus to rail.
on February 27,2013 | 03:19PM
2_centz wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on February 27,2013 | 06:06PM
Pukele wrote:
The city is planning to eliminate or re-route 20 bus routes to feed rail. The public record calls for 68,000 trips per day on rail that came from the bus.
on February 27,2013 | 06:42PM
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