Several city bus routes restored after last year's cuts

Several city bus routes restored after last year's cuts

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Overcrowding, long waits -- or in some cases -- no service at all. Those were the complaints that flooded in after bus routes were canceled last year in an attempt to save money.

Approximately 200-thousand people ride the bus everyday.  Officials know that's a lot of folks to please-- but they're certainly hoping to make more of them happy now that they're restoring several bus routes.

72-year-old Roland Louie goes to Kapolei almost every day. He rides the C "Country Express" bus, which was scaled back from every 30 minutes to every 60 minutes last year.

"It's very unacceptable, because usually it's packed full-- and quite often when the bus is packed the driver will say I'm sorry catch the next one," said Louie, adding he's waited nearly an hour and a half on occasion. "I wish the mayor would restore the buses as he promised."

And that's exactly what Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell did today.

"We went to the areas where the greatest disruption was and tried to improve the routes there. Where they're working well, we left them as they were," said Mayor Caldwell.

Eight routes will be impacted. Starting in March, two routes serving the Leeward coast and town will be restored.  By May, five routes on the Windward side, along School Street, in East Honolulu, and Waikiki  will be up and running. Additional service to the University of Hawai'i at Manoa will go into effect before the fall semester begins in August.

Frequent riser Ursula Kui'e'e can't wait for the routes to be restored so she can start planning her days better.

"In addition to the fact that it is crowded - the wait time it's a lot longer," said Kui'e'e, adding that often times buses are so delayed they arrive one after an other rather than in 30 minute intervals. "Ho'o manawa nui. Be patient. It will come."

Several routes were cut last year in an attempt to save money, but officials say customer's needs-- and complaints-- led them to search for better alternatives.

"We were able to locate funds to do the March and the May roll-outs, but after the new fiscal year-- we'll have to have the council's approval to roll out those restorations," said Michael Formby, Transportation Services Director.

According to the Caldwell Administration, the improvements through June of this year cost $600,000. The 2013 changes announced today will cost approximately $3.5M in fiscal year 2014.

Louie is looking forward to the changes.  "That's great-- this way, quality of life much better," said Louie, who wanted to stick around for more information but couldn't chance missing his ride.  "I'm looking for my bus -- as soon as it comes, I'm going to hop on. I don't want to wait for another hour," said Louie.

Improvements to the following routes will go into effect on March 23:

*CountryExpress Route C (Makaha to Kapolei to Ala Moana Center)
Restore weekend and holiday service frequencies from every 60 minutes under the cuts to every 30 minutes.

*Route 14 (St. Louis Heights viaWaialae Ave to Maunalani Heights)
Restore weekday peak service from St. Louis to Maunalani via Waialae from every 108 minutes to every 40 minutes; more frequent transfers.
Restore original Diamond Headroute for weekday off-peak and weekend service; restore frequencies from 108 minutes to 60 minutes.

Improvements to the following routes will go into effect in May:

*CountryExpress Route C (Makaha to Kapolei to Ala Moana Center)
Restore weekday mid-day service from every 45 minutes to every 30 minutes

*Route 55 (Ala Moana Center viaKaneohe to Haleiwa)
Improve mid-day service frequencies from every 60 minutes to every 45 minutes

*Route 1L (Kalihi to Hawaii Kai)
Extend Route 1L to provide limited-stop service along theSchool Street corridor previously served by Route B

*Route 2L (Kalihi to Waikiki)
Add additional weekday peak hour trips

*Route 5 (Manoa to Ala Moana Center)
Improve morning peak hour frequencies from every 60 minutes to every 30 minutes

Improvement to the following route will take place in August (pending Council approval):

*Route 13 (Liliha via Waikiki to UH-Mânoa)
Restore service frequency to from every 20 minutes to every 15 minutes

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