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County purchases 20 new buses

LIHUE – Kauai County has purchased 20 new buses that will be used to replace older vehicles in the aging Kauai Bus fleet. The total number of buses in the fleet will remain unchanged at 56.

The new buses were purchased with the assistance of grant money from the Federal Transit Administration, which paid 80 percent of the cost. The FTA provided a $2,348,418 match to the county’s $592,105.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. said the new buses would benefit riders and taxpayers alike.

“The new buses will improve the reliability of our transit services, as well as reduce the expense of frequent repairs required with older vehicles,” Carvalho said.

Currently, there are three-to-four buses out of service on any given day for maintenance and repairs. The recommended lifespan of a municipal bus is 150,000 miles.

The county also announced that starting July 1, monthly fare prices will increase by $5. It currently costs $35 for a monthly pass and $350 for an annual pass; those prices will rise to $40 for a monthly pass and $400 for a year.

Jackie Griswold rides the bus every day and she wasn’t happy to learn about the price increase.

“I appreciate the bus – if it wasn’t there I don’t know what I’d do,” Griswold said. “Now I don’t know if it will be in my budget but I’ll work it out.”

Riders can buy monthly passes at the Pono Market in Kapaa, the Menehune Food Marts in Kekaha, Kapaa and Kilauea, the Lihue Civic Center at the motor vehicle registration window, and the Kauai Bus office on Hoolako Street across from the police headquarters.

Mainline route fares are $2 for adults, $1 for seniors and youths ages seven to 18. Children six and under ride free when accompanied by an adult. Fares for the shuttle route are less: 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for seniors and youths.

The Kauai Bus operates Monday to Friday from 5:15 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., depending on the route.

The bus runs a reduced schedule on weekends and holidays.

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