HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – City, state and non-profit agencies that provide for Hawaii's homeless announced on Wednesday a new shuttle service in Kalaeloa. A commercial bus and a 15-passenger van were donated to the project by Roberts Hawaii.
The shuttle will service over 500 people in homeless and transitional shelters along with other nearby residents. Shuttle committee members are hoping that the shuttle service will help nearby residents understand Hawaii's homeless issue.
Many shelters around Kalaeloa are far from bus stops and the lack of road lights also makes safety an issue. Shelter residents are relieved that the shuttle service will help ease transportation conflicts.
"Families used to walk up with their children. You know there are never really sidewalks to walk to so they got to walk through the bushes and everything around. Plus also being on time to their appointments, finding employments to go to it's really hard and some couldn't make it on time..so it' a struggle," said Onelauena shelter resident, Evan Tateuna.
The shuttle service will be operated by Hawaii Helping the Hungry Have Hope (H-5). H-5 had started a similar shuttle service in 2008 but shut down after nine months of operation. Founder of H-5, Utu Langi, is glad that he can provide the shuttle service for people that are trying to get back on their feet.
"We hope that we will have about 100 riders a day..with funding that will last us at least the first year" said Langi.
The shuttle committee also hopes that by providing a shuttle at a fixed price that it will help people with large families. They are proposing a shuttle pass that will cover everyone within a family.
"It's kind of hard too when you have a big family. When you are trying to get things organized and to get there is only a bus that comes every half an hour out here but if you have to go through what we have to go through, it's very hot...it's miserable for the kids," said Onelauena shelter resident, Lois Day.
The shuttle project will cost around $148,000 a year. The city, state and non-profits are picking up the tab with matching federal funds. Issues like shuttle passes, rider costs, and providing transportation for the disabled still need to be negotiated. The shuttle service hopes to start beginning of August.