HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - City Department of Transportation Services director Wayne Yoshioka is convinced a "major route structure change" will improve efficiency at TheBus.
The adjustments will affect as many as 24 bus routes and thousands of riders.
Yoshioka said the bill for diesel fuel next year could jump by $3 million, and the city is facing other increased costs for the island wide bus system.
"We have a choice here. We can either control expenses or we can raise bus fares," he said.
Instead of fare hikes, the city plans to alter the schedules of two dozen bus routes that includes increasing the time between busses, terminating parts of routes, and eliminating routes altogether.
The news is just starting to reach the 220,000 people who ride the bus daily.
"I would rather have the bus fare raised because it's worth it." KT English said.
"We're going to have to deal with it, adapt to the changes and re-scheduling. We're going to have to find a way around it" Sean Seradilla said.
Yoshioka said the changes will save up to $7 million a year, and make the bus run more efficiently.
One change increases time between Route 1 busses to fifteen minutes from twelve minutes to minimize the chance of a second Route 1 catching up to the first, as often happens.
"In that case we're really not carrying what we should be carrying," Yoshioka said. "The first bus is jammed full, the second bus is pretty much empty."
On the weekend, some express routes will be spaced sixty minutes apart instead of thirty. And Route 14 will cease servicing Kapahulu, Waikiki, Diamond Head and Kahala.
A major route that could be discontinued is the Route B City Express from Kalihi to Waikiki. The city said another bus will increase runs to make up for that loss.
"When bus routes are getting cut and changed, we're the ones who are affected," rider Hoku Akana said.
Yoshioka said the route adjustments won't mean bus drivers will be laid off, but there might be fewer new hires.
He said the present plan set to take effect in June could be adjusted, as the city tries to balance cost cutting with the needs of bus riders.
"We looked very carefully at the data to make these changes," he said. "But if by some reason we've misinterpreted something. or if we've missed something, we'd like to hear from people. And we're willing to go back and check and change if necessary."
Yoshioka invites riders to review the plans at honolulu.gov/dts. The city plans to hold a dozen Bus Route Adjustment meetings in April.
Click HERE for the Bus Route Meeting schedule.