Cruising Along: With Bus Passengers

Photo via Flickr/Max Kiesler

Cruising Along is an ongoing weekly blog series by Bianca Sewake examining Hawai‘i’s alternative modes of transportation.

When I catch the bus, people from all corners of the island ride with me—workers, families, early morning shoppers, tourists, teenagers, and the elderly. Although it’s nice to not drive on some days, the freedom my car grants me to go places on my own schedule is a safety net I can always fall back on. It makes it difficult for me to imagine how people who rely on the bus as a main mode of transportation adjust their schedules to fit bus scheduling every day.

One rumor I often hear around town is of a lengthy wait time for the bus. However, according to Kapolei resident Brittnee Yee, who catches the bus often, the system is efficient and reliable. “[The bus] gets people where they need to be at a good pace,” she said. The $2.50 bus fare, which includes a transfer paper slip that covers up to two more rides within two hours, allows her to save money on gas and parking fees. For Yee, the 20 to 30 minute bus arrival intervals during business hours are convenient enough to plan her schedule, such as the days she goes to and from Ala Moana Shopping Center.

Like Yee, many other bus passengers rely on the bus to get around affordably. In 2011, Honolulu was named the top area for having transit that supports the workforce, with 60 percent of jobs reachable within 90 minutes through public transit. However, there are other additional reasons bus veterans catch the bus, such as no access to a car or not being able to drive.

Although Yee and many other enjoy using the bus, there are still areas of improvement. A minor complaint she has is that the bus doesn’t always arrive on time, but typically, it’s only a couple minutes later than planned. Bus cleanliness is also important and Yee commented about seeing dirt, sand and trash on the seats. One of the biggest complaints many have is how jam-packed the buses can get, depending on the time of day and day of the week. “I do not like how it is very crowded on certain routes,” Yee said. “Sometimes the driver should refer others to a different bus that takes them the same place when there is too many people.”

Cruise along next week to find out what the Department of Transportation is doing to improve mass transit in Hawai‘i.

Read last week’s post about a first-time bus ride. 

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