Public wants expanded bus

  • Bethany Freudenthal / The Garden Island

    At a public hearing about improving bus service Wednesday, Alice Parker advocated for a bus stop on Pahee Street so veterans could more easily access the Veterans Affairs clinic in Lihue.

LIHUE — The public had a lot to say Wednesday evening during a public meeting regarding improved bus service and the installation of new charging stations for electric cars across the island.

During the meeting, Bridget Hammerquist presented the council with a petition in support of better bus service on Kauai and to raise the allocation from the currently proposed $160,000 for improvements to the system, to $12.5 million, for land transportation, generated by the state General Excise Tax.

Throughout the years, Hammerquist said she and her husband raised many of their grandchildren who have had to depend on Kauai’s bus. At times it’s been difficult for them because they’ve had to pick up their grandchildren on the weekends when there was no service.

“So my granddaughter and I last week sat down at the computer and we put together a petition to just get a sense of how many people on the island really do care about the issue,” she said.

The petition calls for bus service to be the same on weekends and holidays as it is on the weekdays, and that more buses would come more often. It also states the added services would create jobs and an increased income for workers.

Advocating for extended bus service in Omao, Aaron Chiddester, pastor of Kauai Bible Church, stated that a good spot for a bus stop would be at Kaumualii Highway and Omao Road.

The nearest bus stop, he said, is at the Lawai post office, and he wouldn’t ask anyone to walk along the highway because it’s not safe.

The church plans to develop property near that Omao-Kaumualii intersection to include a food pantry, community outreach building and after-school programs for children and youth, he said.

Many who spoke asked the council to consider funding more electric car charging stations across the island.

Andy Cast of Kapaa told the council he was in support of installing electric car charging stations in Waimea.

Electric vehicles, he said, are cheaper for people to operate and have less maintenance issues. Though the price tag is high on the newer, long-range electric cars, Cast said the older ones are more affordable, but they have a limited range. “Looking at the bigger picture, they help the county reach their transportation goals,” he said.

Alice Parker suggested the county look into getting electric buses. “Electric buses would be divine,” she said, advocating for later hours during the week and extended service on the weekends so workers can commute back home, and residents could attend community, cultural and religious events.

Parker also advocated for several more bus stops, including one on Pahee Street, in the vicinity of the Veterans Center, clinic and other services.

  1. My Two Cents May 10, 2018 5:04 am Reply

    Im glad this issue came because this is Another way west side is being overlooked. Passed kalaheo there are no shuttles. Hanapepe hights is a big neighborhood that’s up a hill. Waimea and kakaha maybe quiet town with no tourist traps but there are residents that use the Kauai bus for work and school. Especially for kekaha there’s a new neighborhood that was there 10 15 years ago.

  2. Uncleaina May 10, 2018 6:28 am Reply

    Sorry guys- the bus system here is a joke and adding more buses will just waste money. Just LOOK inside the buses we have now- I ahave never once seen a full bus on this island. Never! In fact it’s rare to see a bus 1/2 full. Typically you’ll see 1-5 people in a bus that seats 35. The buses we have are simply too big. And the county subsidizes every trip to the tune of $8!! We need to explore using smaller more efficient buses or even consider creating an Uber type of system for paratransit. Throwing money at a poorly-designed and inefficient system isn’t going to help anything.

  3. Charlie Chimknee May 10, 2018 7:06 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    Busses…? You mean as in besides the busses that are on the road at any one time, and the 30 busses sitting idle at the same time at the “Bus Barn” adjacent to the LIHUE Main Police Station near the Court House…? You mean those too many Kaua’i Busses…? Sitting idle or running near empty during the midday?

    It would seem in a request for more mostly too often near empty busses, that consideration would go to having 12 or 15 passenger vans running the routes at more frequent intervals, and having some of those vans in LIHUE run to more locations on their route.

    It might be financially better for the County to start allowing VANS to be operated individually like taxis having the drivers own their own VANS and pay for their own gas, oil, tires, and maintenance. Each year’s Safety Check could include a more rigorous inspection since the VANS would be for the public.

    Perhaps an Uber and / or Lift System would be even better in the use of VANS.

    Using VANS between towns and then once a person is in their destination town, people could then transfer to VANS that stayed in each town wherein the people could be, for example picked up and dropped off anywhere in LIHUE, Kapa’a, Koloa, Poipu, Kalaheo, Waimea, Kekaha, Anahola, Kealia, Kilauea, Princeville, Hanalei, and Haena.

    Let the demand of the amount of passengers dictate the routes and times best suitable for the public. Like taxis, many world locations allow privately owned small transportation services, even having micro vans, tuk tuks, tricycle cabs, and motorcycle taxis, getting people not just to a bus stop or vicinity, but right from their homes to any destination and then back to their front door.

    It could mean instead of 14 cars and pick up trucks waiting in line on the Kuhio Highway, and other places that 1 VAN takes the place of those 14 other vehicles.

    Besides pasengers can while their time away texting all they want.

    And taxpayers would not have to foot the bill for the Retirement programs, different insurances on Van and driver, nor the monthly medical, dental, vision programs. Let the private sector take care of themselves.

    Let the 1 Man Van companies provide this service and in term support their families.

    The County should relinquish their authority and allow demand and the private sector to “Fill in the Blanks” of empty transportation services and locations. Time for a change…!



    1. Debra Kekaualua May 10, 2018 6:33 pm Reply

      2009 written and shared with kauai county council! NO one listens then or now.
      I have just returned from 24 days in Hawaii County. At my
      own expense, I went on a fact-finding and use mission. For
      those citizens who have interest in our lacking adequate local
      transportation, please commit yourself as I have, to secure
      some semblance of what is clearly a plus and for which, the
      big island County subsidizes to their people. Integrating FREE
      Bus Hele-on/share taxi paratransit program versus Kauai
      county Iniki bus systems is what our current management
      teams need to embrace, develop, and implement 20-years
      ago. Currently our county’s bus is over-charging commoners
      at $2. When in council chambers, I asked Yukimura about
      this, her response “reasonable” fare; however yukimura
      neglected to share or further include a transfer, or that $2
      was for one leg Big Save to Wal-Mart. I must have looked
      foolish, when Chris, a disabled female waiting at the bus stop
      apprised me of this fact. In 2006, I drove kauai county bus
      for 9 months, CDL in-hand with perfect abstract to this day.
      Out of 18 new hires, none survived county help wanted full-
      time as GIN listed, all paced in a part-time only without
      benefits driving scenario needing “mayor’ approval to full-
      time status. There was always a lot of scrambling within
      including discussion but no implementation to issuing
      transfers. Share-taxi coverage levels the playing field
      between paratransit bus versus taxi/vans that would minimize
      dialysis-related exorbitant taxi fees currently levied at regular
      taxi rates; lihue-mahelona r/t/month one patient State pays
      $720 to proposed couponing $48 footprints.

  4. LMat May 10, 2018 9:09 am Reply

    More buses and bus stops, electric buses (!), electric car charging stations…
    Put all of that on the back burner!
    We need solutions for the housing crisis!!!

  5. Lumahai Mike May 10, 2018 11:19 am Reply

    I am a regular rider. I have a couple of small suggestions. Make Wilcox lobby a stop again. I would say and Walmart but I know that ain’t gonna happen. Expand the Lihue shuttle to the two stops in Hanamaulu.

  6. MisterM May 10, 2018 3:55 pm Reply

    Always people advocating making their lives easier by spending other people’s money…

    More buses? A bad joke!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.