Bus riders sign petition to stop proposed changes

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some Honolulu bus riders are trying to save their stops from major changes. People signed a petition during a meeting on Monday night asking the city not to scale back Route 14 that runs from Saint Louis Heights to Maunalani Heights. The proposal would eliminate service to Kapahulu, Waikiki, Diamond Head and Kahala.

Bus driver Russell Duarte knows the regulars on Route 14. Lately, they're all worried about the future.

"Lot of the riders that ride my bus, they say, 'What's going to happen to us, Russell?' I say, 'I don't know.' I really don't know. We can just hope for the best," said Duarte.

"What we heard at one of our earlier meetings is that this modification does miss certain areas that people need served so we're looking at ways to reroute some of the other buses to take care of that," said Wayne Yoshioka, director of the city's Department of Transportation Services.

Duarte is just one of the people who showed up at Hokulani Elementary to find out about the potential impact on as many as two dozen routes. Some adjustments affect the schedule with longer wait times between buses. Others alter or eliminate service to some neighborhoods. According to the city, the changes will make the bus run more efficiently and save up to $7 million a year.

"I gave up my car a long time ago, so I rely on the bus," said bus rider Lina Agbayani.

"We've looked at the data pretty carefully, but in case we've missed anything or we've miscalculated something, that's why we're going to hear what they have to say," said Yoshioka.

Other proposals include discontinuing the Route B City Express from Kalihi to Waikiki. Some express buses will also be an hour apart instead of 30 minutes on weekends.

"Cost of gas is going up and I think the company is trying to find ways of tightening the budget so that everything can work smooth," said Duarte. "At this point I think the company is doing the best it can."

Some of the changes are scheduled to start in June.

Go to http://www1.honolulu.gov/dts/bus+service+route+changes.htm for more information.

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