For many of Maui’s residents, it’s hard now to remember what life was like before the current public bus system got off the ground in 2004. That was shortly after the initial Focus Maui Nui civic engagement process had identified addressing infrastructure challenges as a top priority in our community. Latest ridership figures show that in 2010, an average of more than 6,000 trips are taken each day by bus. Clearly, the system is addressing the needs of a significant number of residents.
The bus system is operated by the County of Maui in part through Federal support. “The uncertainty regarding Federal “earmark” funding represents a major challenge in the coming months to maintaining our successful public bus system,” says Jo Anne Johnson, the incoming Director of the County’s Department of Transportation. Service is provided by Roberts Hawaii and is available in and between communities in Central, South, West and Upcountry Maui. The bus system operates seven days a week, including holidays, and costs $1 per boarding, with daily and monthly passes also available. The system also features a commuter service (costing $2) designed for early morning and evening travelers to/from Wailea and Kapalua. All route and fare information as well as schedules are posted on the County website at www.mauicounty.gov/bus
One further windfall from the increase in public transit use is the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and savings in imported fossil fuel as a result of passengers switching from using cars. “The higher gas prices have risen, the more passengers are choosing to ride the bus,” says Jo Anne Johnson. The system represents a promising step towards greater island sustainability.
Do you use the Public Bus system? How often?