After cutting routes, TheBus will add some

Published On: Jul 16 2012 11:02:04 PM HST   Updated On: Jul 17 2012 07:52:07 AM HST

It has already been a summer of changes for bus riders, and more adjustments are just down the road.

Certain routes have been changed or dropped, and once public schools start up, some new bus routes will be added.

Students may be adding a city bus pass to their school supply list. Cuts to school bus service could have thousands of students hopping on TheBus, which worries some at the Department of Transportation Services.  The big increase in student riders could create more overcrowding and cause delays for regular passengers and students.

"We think have a fix by adding a greater frequency of buses to take care of the overload issue," said Wayne Yoshioka, director of the Department of Transportation Services.

More buses will be added, as needed, starting at the end of the month for four different routes in Leeward Oahu:  Route 41, which goes from Kapolei to Ewa Beach. Route 44, which covers Ewa Villages/Ewa Beach to Waipahu. Route 53, which travels between Pacific Palisades and Honolulu, and Route 73, between Leeward Community College and Pearl City.

The city will be able to pay for the additional service because fuel costs have been falling.

"They are below what we've budgeted for the year, so we think we can use that to finance the route changes for the start of the school year," said Yoshioka. "The additional buses are only a temporary fix, until the Department of Education comes up with a more permanent plan for busing students."

Overcrowding has been a big complaint since TheBus changed its off-peak schedule last month.

Now there will be more changes to the schedules on some of the busier routes, like Middle Street to Waikiki.   Meanwhile, larger articulated buses will be added to the circle island route, to handle the large load in the middle of the day.

While the head of the Department of Transportation wants to cut down on overcrowding, riders should get used to full buses.  Eliminating emptier routes was one of the ways the city aimed to save between $6-7 million per year on bus services.

The latest changes to the regular bus routes will begin as early as next week.
The adjustments came after complaints from bus riders, TheBus will also seek input on how new modifications are working.


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