AUDIO: Maui Bus Fleet Grows to Meet Projected 2 Million Ridership

October 27, 2009, 1:50 PM HST · Updated October 27, 3:09 PM
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By Wendy Osher

The County of Maui dedicated two new high capacity buses today bringing the Maui fleet to 35.  County Transportation Director Don Medeiros said the new additions will help to meet an increased demand in rider-ship.

Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares joins Ry Barbin and Maui Councilmember Michael Victorino in touring one of two new buses dedicated today to meet increase ridership. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares joins Ry Barbin and Maui Councilmember Michael Victorino in touring one of two new buses dedicated today to meet increase ridership. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Click here to listen to Wendy Osher’s interview with County Transportation Director Don Medeiros as Maui welcomes the newest buses in a now 35 unit fleet.

With the County now logging more than 6,000 boardings per day, “It is not uncommon for smaller 25-passenger busses to experience overloading,” said Medeiros.  “So this will go a long way to allow people to be able to sit when they ride the bus,” he said.

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Ridership on the Maui Bus experienced a nearly 68 percent increase in FY08 over FY07, according to Transportation officials.   Current data shows Maui’s ridership is at 10% over the same time last year, with more than a half-million riders recorded in the first three months of the fiscal year.  According to DOT projections, Maui is on track to record over 2 million boardings this year.

“In a time when people are a little depressed economically,”  Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares said, “This is the shining star of Maui County.”

“So many people are able now to go about their daily activities without a burden in their pocketbook or having to own a car if they don’t need to,” said Medeiros.

“There are folks for instance that work in Kaanapali or out in Kapalua that live Upcountry; and it’s as if they got a $500 bonus, because they don’t have to pay for the fuel,” said Medeiros.

“We have no idea how much impact these vehicles and this service has on our community,” said Tavares who added, “We count the numbers, we’re building ridership and people love it; but behind all of that, there are these individual stories,” said Tavares.

The two new buses have a seating capacity of 37 with four wheelchair stations per bus, bike racks that can accommodate two bicycles, and a complete set of six security cameras on board.

The 2009 El Dorado National EZ-Rider II Diesel buses were purchased from a manufacturer in Riverside, California for $394,299 each, for a total price tag of $788,598.  Eighty percent of the funding or $588,598 came from federal funding, with the remaining $200,000 funded by the County of Maui.

“Talk about changing the lives of people and helping them to stay whole in our community during these tough times…We will continue to grow our bus service as long as the people in the County of Maui need it,” said Tavares.

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