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Group petitions against fare hikes

    Members of the Faith Action Community Equity group kicked off their monthlong petition campaign against the recent bus fare hike yesterday. Here, a bus arrived at Kapiolani Boulevard and Keeaumoku Street.
    Jun Yang, left, FACE organizer, got the support of petition signer Ernest Yimartino yesterday.

Soon after stepping out of a city bus at a stop near Ala Moana Center, 23-year-old Ernest Yimartino signed a petition against the recent bus fare hike with no hesitation.

"It’s a bit much," Yimartino, of Manoa, said of the increases. He said he catches the bus daily to get to his two jobs, at Gold Buyers Hawaii at Ala Moana Center and at FedEx in Hawaii Kai.

The Faith Action Community Equity group kicked off yesterday its monthlong petition campaign against the bus fare increases, which took effect July 1.

The price of an adult monthly bus pass jumped to $60 from $50, while a youth monthly bus pass increased to $30 from $25. One-way bus fares for adults and youth increased to $2.50 from $2.25, and $1.25 from $1, respectively. The new fares are the second half of a two-part increase that began July 1, 2009.

Petition organizer Jun Yang said the hike is another fee residents are forced to endure in today’s fragile economy. "These increases are impacting our families," Yang said.

About eight people, including youths from the Boys and Girls Club, collected signatures from bus riders yesterday at a stop on Kapiolani Boulevard fronting Walgreens in Ala Moana.

The group represents members of 24 churches. Each church will adopt a nearby bus stop to collect signatures for the petition calling for Mayor Mufi Hannemann to reconsider the fare increase.

FACE and Wayne Yoshioka, city director of the Department of Transportation Services, said they want to schedule a meeting to discuss the issue. "We know the bus fare is a bargain," Yoshioka said.


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