After week of free bus fares, city hopeful for increased use of public transportation

Riders on TheBus and Handi-van were treated to a full week of no fares. The city hoped the promotion would increase ridership in the long term.
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 6:02 AM HST|Updated: Sep. 1, 2022 at 7:47 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Riders on TheBus and Handi-van were treated to a full week of no fares. The city hoped the promotion would increase ridership in the long term.

While that has yet to be seen, preliminary data from the Department of Transportation Services said it is encouraged the program was a success.

Here are some of the initial numbers from the week of free fares:

  • Weekly ridership (derived from automated passenger counters) was up about 12% from the previous week and 25% from the same week last year.
  • Number of HOLO taps was up about 15% from the previous week and about 30% from the same week last year.
  • Cash revenue declined by $46,324 for the week, but that number is much less than the $182,000 that was estimated by DTS.
  • Some 36,205 HOLO cards were issued for in August (that number is usually about 14,000 per month).
  • There was a 20% increase in the number of “unique” HOLO cards used during August (taken from the number of cards that were used for one or more taps).

The city hopes the trend continues and more people come to find public transportation as a viable option for getting around. That would mean less people on the roads.

This promotion was done during back to school week for the University of Hawaii and other schools.

Another by-product of the promotion was introducing more people to the HOLO card, which is a something riders will need to board the bus and the rail system when it is completed.