City Hopes New Bus Program Will Encourage People to Ditch Their Cars

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Tired of dealing with traffic congestion on your way to and from work? Your employer could help make your commute more relaxing.

Officials at Oahu Transit Services say about 225,000 people ride the bus each day. The city wants to reduce commuter traffic on Oahu by getting more workers out of their cars and into buses.

On Thursday, it promoted the new Bus Bonus program. Employers can subsidize the cost of monthly bus passes for their employees, and enjoy tax savings.

"It provides a tax deductible business expense," Mufi Hannemann, Honolulu Mayor, said. "I think you'll find that your employees will arrive more relaxed and on time, rather than Hawaiian time."

"(The program) will promote regular, ongoing transit use, will meet the needs of companies who have little or no employee parking available," Hannemann said. "That's always a challenge."

OTS announced plans to expand in December. Its new Ewa-Country Express route will go between Ewa Beach and Waikiki with limited stops.