LIHUE — Kauai Bus riders have until the end of June to buy monthly and annual passes before rates go up.
Monthly fare prices will increase by $5 starting July 1. 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.
This is the third year in a row that the prices have increased as a result of a plan to incrementally increase rider fare prices over three years.
The reason for the increase is to offset a portion of the cost of a previous expansion of the bus service.
Even with the price increase, Transportation Executive Celia Mahikoa said that “the bus pass continues to be by far the least costly mode of vehicular transportation available for all members of the population.”
The county sells about 650 monthly bus passes each month, and about seven annual bus passes.
The overall budget to operate the bus system is $7.9 million annually, but that will drop to $7.6 million in the 2016 fiscal year that starts on July 1. The decrease is primarily due to anticipated lower fuel costs and vehicle repair expenses.
Mainline route fares are $2 for adults; it is $1 for senior 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 a.m., depending on the route. The bus runs a reduced schedule on weekends and holidays.
Riders can buy monthly passes at the Pono Market in Kapaa, the Menehune Food Marts in Kekaha, Kapahi and Kilauea, and the Lihue Civic Center at the motor vehicle registration window. Monthly and annual passes are available at the Kauai Bus office at 3220 on Hoolako Street across from the police headquarters. The Kauai Bus office is the only place to purchase an annual pass.