Bus Ridership on the Rise

Kenneth Stanley
Kenneth Stanley
Carol Tsukada
Carol Tsukada
Lorelli Madamaba
Lorelli Madamaba

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- The number of people riding the bus on Oahu is on the rise.

Bus officials say the jump is significant because of the amount, and because of the timing.

Tens of thousands of people ride the bus everyday.

And that number keeps going up, thanks to soaring gas prices.

"Well that's what the public tells us, is certainly they have to take a look. At $4 a gallon versus $40 a month riding the bus, you gotta make a choice," said Kenneth Stanley with the Oahu transit services.

Bus officials say for the first time in more than a decade, they averaged about 230,000 people every day in March -- an increase of 4.8% from the same time last year.

They say bus passes are also up -- to about 86,000 -- a 7% jump from last year.

"Yeah I see more people, especially young gentlemen, and you know they rather drive, but they all catching the bus, so it gets crowded," said bus rider Carol Tsukada.

Some of those riders have cars, but prefer to catch the bus.

"Yeah, because it's more cheaper," said bus rider Lorelli Madamaba. "You have to pay maintenance, gas, insurance, and it's everywhere, the bus. My sister says her gasoline per week is $40. Bus is $40 a month."

The timing of the increase in riders is also significant.

"April is the beginning of the slowdown of UH, so we would typically not see an increase in April, we would've seen a decrease," said Stanley.  "We didn't see that."

One thing officials expect to see.

One negative to the increase -- buses are getting too full, and some can't stop to pick up people.

Officials say that happens maybe 30 to 35 times a day, which isn't bad, considering buses make 4,000 trips a day.