$5 now gets you unlimited city bus rides for a day

$5 now gets you unlimited city bus rides for a day
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - So long, bus transfers.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a bill into law Friday that allows riders to buy a one-day pass, eliminating the need for passengers to get paper transfers from bus drivers.

"We have one of the most heavily used bus systems. We want to make it as easy and convenient for riders," Caldwell said.

City officials hope to have the one-day pass available for purchase by October. They say it will make things a lot easier for both passengers and bus drivers, while addressing the fraud that currently happens with paper transfers.

The one-day passes cost $5 for adults and $2.50 for children.

Riders can purchase them directly from bus drivers and the single-day pass will be good for unlimited rides within a 27-hour period from midnight the first day until 2:59 a.m. the next day.

"This will give opportunities for people, especially those living on the west side, to get home if they're working late and they don't have to pick up a transfer," said Honolulu City Councilman Brandon Elefante, who introduced the bill.

The one-day option will also replace the four-day, $35 passes. Riders can still buy a one-way ticket at $2.50.

City officials say the transition will make the job a little easier for bus drivers -- and make the commute more convenient and cheaper for many riders.

"It eases up the hassle of having to check the transfer every time. I can focus a little bit more on safe driving and getting the people to where they gotta go," said bus operator Charles Sullivan.

Bus rider Umeyo Momotaro also supported the one-day passes.

"It will help people to move around more easily. I used to pay out of pocket every day so taking the bus -- at $2.50 a ride -- is pretty expensive."

While they don't expect a huge jump in revenue, transit officials believe ridership will increase with the new day pass.

"We know that we lose some amount of money just through the fraud and abuse and misuse of the existing transfers. The day pass should also help us to get a proper amount of revenue from all of our riders," said Roger Morton, President and General Manager of Oahu Transit Services.

Honolulu's $5 price tag for the pass is on the low end compared to the rest of the nation.

Riders in San Francisco pay the highest day fare at $17. The cheapest one day bus pass -- at $3 -- can be found in Baltimore.

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