VIDEO/PHOTOS: Dedication of Maui QKC Transit Hub
By Wendy Osher
[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kNTKLH13qo /] A new transit hub was dedicated during a ceremony this morning at the Queen Kaahumanu Center.
The $250,000 project includes shelters, benches, solar lighting, and powder coated aluminum seating designed to resist weathering.
“It’s a great addition for the center; it’s a good location for people to catch the bus to transfer,” said Kahului Council Member Joe Pontanilla.
With bus ridership expected to continue to increase, transportation officials say the new hub will help to meet the growing need of the community.
“For this past fiscal year, we had over 2.3 million boardings per year for the Maui Bus System,” said Maui Transportation Director Jo Anne Johnson Winer. That figure includes commuter routes as well as the county’s para-transit service.
“The ridership has increased so that if we stay on target for the riders that we have currently, we should approach 2.5 million this next fiscal year,” said Johnson Winer.
The popularity of the bus is due in part to the affordable fares which are $1 per boarding, or $2 for an all-day pass.
“People have a hard time buying cars–it’s so expensive; gasoline is at an all-time high; so hey, a dollar, two dollars to catch the bus–man, that’s worth it,” said Pontanilla.
The Maui Bus generates a little over $2 million per year in revenues. Transportation officials say that has dropped somewhat since the $2 fares were implemented because the monthly passes, which are $30 and $45, are not selling as well.
To run the bus system, the cost to the county is between $9 million and $9.5 million, according to Johnson Winer. This includes $7 million for the fixed and commuter routes, and approximately $2 million for the para-transit service.
“Out of that, $2 million comes from the fares that are generated,” said Johnson Winer. The other funds come from gas-tax revenues, general funds from the county council, and federal funds for bus replacement and para-transit services.
The transit hub is being leased to the county for $1 per year for the next 10 years under an agreement with management at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center.
“All-in-all, I think as we grow the bus system, it’s going to be a wonderful thing for our community,” said Pontanilla.
The county also dedicated a new 25-passenger Aero-Elite Ford F550 bus. The gasoline powered bus is ADA compliant, with LED lighting and front-mounted bike racks. The bus was purchased with a combination of funds from both the County of Maui and also the Federal Transportation Administration.