With Hawaiian music and lei, two new 40-foot-long Eldorado transit buses were blessed Wednesday morning at the War Memorial Stadium parking lot.
“What makes these buses so unique is the Quantum system that secures disabled bus riders using wheelchairs,” said Mayor Michael Victorino during the blessing ceremony, explaining that bus riders in wheelchairs can board and secure themselves automatically on fixed route buses. “The bus won’t move until everything is in place. This saves bus drivers time, and it gives people freedom. This terrific invention is going to make bus travel a lot easier and a lot safer for disabled riders.”
Maui County Department of Transportation Director Marc Takamori said: “These new buses will bring higher reliability and an updated look to our Maui bus fleet. We’re excited to add these new buses for our Maui Bus riding community.”
The buses will be deployed for the Kihei Islander and Lahaina Islander routes, at least initially.
The buses are 40-foot-long Eldorado transit buses, which are replacing buses that have been on the long-haul fleet for the transit system’s fixed routes. The new buses are much needed because the last time there were replacement buses was in 2006. The new buses are more quiet, and they have improved interior lighting.
Mayor Victorino said he would like to see Maui County’s next generation of buses be electric. “I think it’s time we start moving in that direction,” he said. “They’re quieter, more efficient and have less emissions.”
Also Wednesday, the department hosted an open house for the two new buses at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center bus hub.