Maui Discussion

Ask the Mayor: Why Are Bus Fares Increasing?

November 20, 2016, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated November 21, 11:34 AM
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Maui Bus, photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui Bus, photo by Wendy Osher.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his office staff.

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: [email protected], phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

Dear Mayor Arakawa,

Q: We understand that Budget and Finance Committee Chair Riki Hokama is increasing the cost of bus fares by at least 50%. Maui Bus monthly passes would go up from $45 to $60; daily passes from $4 to $5 for fixed routes; one-way commuter routes would increase from $2 to $3; paratransit from $2 to $3 per ride, monthly passes for seniors from $25 per month to $37.50.

Please compare fares and fees charged by TheBus, public transportation operated by the City & County of Honolulu.

Of specific and particular concern are fares and passes for seniors. On The Maui Bus, seniors pay $25 per month, annualized (12 months) seniors pay $300.

On TheBus in Honolulu, seniors pay $30 for 1 year and $60 for two years.

The $270 per year difference is of great and significant impact when most seniors are on fixed incomes. That $270 enables seniors to purchase food, provide for shelter, pay for medication and other essentials.

We encourage a review of the current fare and pass structure for The Maui Bus.

A: I’m not sure where you heard the above information, but it is not correct. While fare increases are written into the Maui Short-Range Transit Plan, they are nowhere near to being implemented.

The public, especially MauiBus riders, would be given ample opportunity to comment on any proposed fare hikes prior to them being implemented.

And in regard to the Honolulu fares, the population there is more than six times Maui County’s population, so their ridership would likely be proportionately higher as well.

Our MauiBus fares as adopted by the County Council currently generate about $2.8 million annually with about a $22 million subsidy from county funds to the County Department of Transportation for all transit services. 

Please keep in mind that within this $22 million over $6 million goes to MEO transportation largely to serve our senior citizens with some of the funding for youth transportation services and to assist persons with disabilities beyond the paratransit services mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

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