March 1984 Home   Newsletters

April 1984

May-June 1984

Annual Meeting
President's Message (Arlene Woo)
Resolutions on Arms Control in State Legislature
Transportation Director Explains Rationale for Bus Fare
LWV President Dot Ridings to Come to Hawaii
Another Win for League in its Battle to Keep Hawaii's Air Clean (Anna Hoover)
Convention '84 - May 13-17
Two Studies Proposed - Nat'l Security, Financing the Gov't
News Bits
Membership Update

Transportation Director Explains Rationale for Proposed Bus Fare Structure


The administration proposal before the City Council raising bus fares is based on the user fees concept that the user should pay a fair share of the costs of the service offered, but also acknowledging that the non-user also benefits from the bus service in as much as he has people to fight for the road space available, according to William Bonnet, director of the city Department of Transportation Services. (Other benefits to the general citizenry of a mass transit system, while not mentioned, are obvious.) It apportions roughly 50% of the costs to users and 50% to the general tax payer. The argument for user fees, according to Mr. Bonnet, is that it promotes consciousness of the cost of public services and encourages restraint in the demand for services.

The present fare structure results in 31% of all operating costs coming from the fare boxes. The rest is covered by property taxes, designated highway funds which are limited, and federal money. The federal funds amount to about 7% now, but the federal government is phasing out operating subsidies, and next year, we will be getting 90% of the present 7%.


Having determined that 50% of the cost should be borne by the users, the internal .distribution of this amount had to be worked out. The administration bill proposes to make these changes:

  • It raises cash fare to 75¢ from the present 50¢.

  • It sets a premium fare of $1.00 for ex-press service since it costs more to offer this service. As an example, a bus sent out to Hawaii Kai for the morning rush express service, results in an empty run.

  • Student fare would be raised from the present 25c to 50c, or two thirds of the adult fare.

  • The regular monthly pass would go from $15.00 to $21.00, the student pass from $7.50 to $14.00, and the express pass from $15.00 to $28.00.

  • While there will be no charge for local transfers, there would be a charge if the transfer results in an upgrade in service, such as a transfer from a local bus to an express bus.

The elderly and the handicapped do not pay now and will not be asked to pay under the new fare structure.


Ultimately, we'll probably have a bet-ter system, according to Mr. Bonnet. He doesn't believe it will be HART. A billion dollar plus system servicing a single corridor would leave no money for things like re-source recovery, he says.

Even as we look ahead, we have the bus system now. We have a major investment in it and can't let it deteriorate. In answer to a question from the audience at the end of his speech, Mr. Bonnet explained that our ridership is holding fairly constant, and that their aim now is to improve the quality of bus service, and that promotion for in-creased use would not come until they had accomplished that.

164 buses are being acquired, but 116 will be retired. In 1980, the average age of our buses was 10 years compared to the mainland average of 6 years.

83 buses are being stripped and rehabilitated. This will add perhaps another 7 years to their lives.

A heavy maintenance facility is planned to be located at Campbell Industrial Park.

Standardization of signs, more bus shelters, and concrete benches figure in their plans to improve bus service.


The city is investing in 28 "articulated buses," 60-foot long vehicles with a break in the middle, designed to save on labor costs. The first of these will be arriving in June. They will be assigned to the most heavily-used routes.

We will also be seeing 10 new hill climbers soon and 80 new standard buses.

The acquisition of these new buses, bus rehabilitation and maintenance of our bus system are financed on a matching funds basis by the federal government (80%) and the city (20%)


The Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization is in the process of studying transportation alternatives. Our League Transportation Committee has been participating in this at various levels.

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