Shuttle service launched

LIHUE — A new shuttle service on Kauai’s North Shore is expected to reduce traffic and alleviate parking congestion.

Now in operation, it will move residents and visitors between North Shore resorts and popular visitor destinations in Princeville, Hanalei, Wainiha, Haena and Kee.

“The first project Mayor Carvalho talked about in his Holo Holo 2020 vision was to get the cars off the road at Kee,” said George Costa, director of the county’s Office of Economic Development. “By providing the seed funding, the county has enabled these community partners to come together and take the first step in the process of resolving this long-standing issue.”

A $75,000 grant from the county will cover operational costs for the shuttle for the first three months of operation.

The North Shore Shuttle Pilot Project is a partnership between the County of Kauai, the Kauai Economic Development Board, Princeville Development Reignwood Group, the Kauai Visitors Bureau, several Princeville-area resorts, the Hanalei to Haena Community Association, and Experience Kauai – a company which currently provides shuttle service in Princeville.

A blessing for the project was held Tuesday at the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, during which Princeville Development Reignwood Group presented a check in the amount of $75,000, which will underwrite the second three months of the pilot project. The Kauai Economic Development Board is serving as fiscal sponsor for the project.

“It’s great to see this public-private partnership and the enthusiasm of all involved to make this happen,” Carvalho said. “It’s all about responsibly managing our visitor industry so that we protect our natural resources, do what’s right for the community and provide a great experience for our visitors.”

Experience Kauai will operate two 14-passenger vans, seven days a week. The vans will accommodate coolers, boogie boards and other beach accessories, and be equipped with exterior racks. One shuttle will provide “express” service between Princeville resorts and Haena/Kee between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. On the way back to Princeville, the express will make additional stops in Wainiha.

Sue Kanoho, executive director, Kauai Visitors Bureau, said she is pleased the North Shore has a shuttle service. “For many years, we have had complaints about the overcrowding of the North Shore area by residents and visitors, with some of the worst offenses in the Haena area, and specifically Kee Beach,” she said. “We will be getting the word out to the accommodations and activities and hope everyone will support this new opportunity.“

The second shuttle will provide service from Princeville resorts to Princeville Shopping Center, Ching Young Village and Hanalei/Black Pot Beach Park between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Introductory fares of $2 each way for visitors and $1 each way for Kamaaina will be offered.

Project leaders are seeking sponsorships from North Shore businesses in order to sustain the shuttle service following the six-month pilot period. Anyone interested in supporting the shuttle project may contact the Office of Economic Development at 241-4946.

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