HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The director of the City Department of Transportation Services said Wednesday reversing controversial cuts made to bus service would cost $2.5 million.
Wayne Yoshioka told the City Council Budget Committee the earliest bus service could be restored to the way it was is next March.
"One of the ways OTS achieved this without doing any layoffs is that they allowed the natural transition to occur. But they didn't hire their typical new bus drivers on board. What they'll have to do is start getting more operators on board to operate that. So that's the side lag there," he said.
The cuts were done in two phases, the first on June 3, the second on Aug. 19. A total of 26 routes were affected. Two were canceled and the rest involved altering routes or schedules.
"Don't you want to find money to help these people? We're obligated to provide public transportation as best we can. And yet we haven't been doing that," budget committee chair Ann Kobayashi said.
The city said the changes will save $6 to $7 million in operating costs.
The council has pressured the city to restore bus service based on calls and emails from riders who complain of long waits and overcrowded busses.
Mayoral candidates Ben Cayetano and Kirk Caldwell both vow to restore bus service if they are elected.