Back to School Traffic Begins

Vikki Harris
Vikki Harris

HONOLULU (KHNL)- Hawaii drivers, get ready for road slow-downs tomorrow as the back to school jam begins! 60 thousand university and private school students will be returning to classes on Oahu, and that means the roads will be clogged with cars. We've got tips on how you can beat the jam and help get those cars off the road.

If you are hitting the streets, you may want to leave early because traffic will be extra heavy. You can also leave later after the morning or afternoon slowdowns. Be sure your own car is ready for the creeping, crawling traffic. Stalls create a log jam and mean additional time on the road for other drivers. You can even get your car off the road completely by signing up for the Vanpool program, a state program that has been growing for the past 12 years.

Vicki Harris of Vanpool Hawaii says, "We serve all communities everywhere. We have people coming in from Waianae, Ewa Beach, Kahuku." Right now there are 250 vans and SUVs in the program but they're always looking to give out more.

That's right - they provide vehicles for you! "We pay for all of the insurance, all maintenance, we provide the vehicle. It's a turn key operation," Harris says.

Drivers and riders do have to pay a monthly seat fee, as well as gas and parking. If riding in a van isn't cool enough for you, the state also has a program for those wanting to ride in style. Harris explains, "We also have a program called The Cool Pool. They're black SUVs and they're for people who're more understated in their commute."

You would think not having to deal with traffic and saving money each month on your commute would be a big draw to drivers - but not everyone is ready to give the vanpool program a go. "People are very resistant to changing their commute habits. It's one of the hardest things to do," says Harris.

As an added bonus for drivers, they get to use the van for personal use after hours and on the weekends. If you would like more details of this program call 596-VANS.