A bill to allow advertisements on TheBus has moved one step closer to becoming reality.
The budget committee pushed the bill along for further reading.
The ads are limited in size and would cost advertisers $450 per bus per month.
Department of Transportation officials say having ads on the outside of more than 500 city buses could generate up to $8 million annually and allow for route enhancements.
"$8 million is anything but chump change. It's a lot of money. We get cut from our budget $2,000. That's the level that the council has to look for money," said Mike Formby of the DOT.
"Opening this Pandora's Box, as some council members have called it, will send the City and County of Honolulu down a path that they might not be able to protect us from in the future," said Marti Townsend of Outdoor Circle.
The DOT says the content of the ads will be restricted and won't be on bus benches or transit stations.
The bill has been sent to the full city council for the second out of three readings on May 7.