New diesel buses for Kauai fleet

LIHUE — The Kauai Bus is set to receive six new diesel buses thanks to a Federal Transit Administration grant, and while it will serve to refresh the current fleet, it’s not bringing Kauai any closer to a full renewable fleet by 2045.

That pledge was made by all of the Hawaii mayors, including Mayor Bernard Carvalho, in December 2017 — to aim for all ground transportation to be fueled by 100 percent renewable energy, instead of fossil fuel, by the year 2045.

That pledge was made aboard the voyaging canoe Hokule’a in an event that called for an end to the use of fossil fuels within the state and promoted pathways to better stewardship of the environment.

About a year later, in late November, FTA announced a $6.5 million grant to the state of Hawaii to buy new buses for Kauai and Hawaii Island.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz praised it as a boost for affordable transportation on the islands.

The funding is going toward three 30-foot buses and three smaller buses for County of Kauai. It won’t increase the current fleet number of 58 in the Kauai Bus fleet, nor will it impact the bus schedule.

It will replace old buses in the current fleet, but County of Kauai says it won’t include any alternative fueled buses. The county isn’t ready for that move, yet.

“As we do the work of fleet transition towards battery electric transit buses, there are many important moving parts that are currently being worked on,” said spokesman Alden Alayvilla in a statement about the buses to TGI. “Amongst (those) many important topics is having to continue to manage existing service while funding transforming our fleet.”

Alayvilla cited the “reality of limited financial resources” as the county looks at a two-fold fleet transformation: keeping the current, diesel fleet up to date and transitioning the entire system to BEBs.

“That’s where these buses are going to help us,” Alayvilla said. “We plan to obligate the funds for these six buses in FY21 to support our current fleet replacement needs.”

The county says there are plans to take steps toward that 2045 renewable ground transportation goal, but it’ll most likely be after FY2021.

“Going forward from FY21, we plan to dedicate the vast majority of capital funds towards BEBs,” Alayvilla said in the statement.

  1. 2045 December 3, 2019 4:10 am Reply

    2045 that’s laughable. 25 years to implement the plan that’s attainable right now? seems like how they plan for road improvements. The county and state has the funding but through fraud, waste, and abuse they have 20,30,40 and 50 year plans instead of addressing y he problems they find pork projects to spend the money on like bike paths and planting trees in the middle of the road and painting 20 cross walks in less than 1 mile.

  2. Wally Roberts December 3, 2019 4:14 am Reply

    Electric bus or electric automobile. Both have large batteries that are quite toxic to the environment both during manufacturing and eventual disposal. Further, the constant need to recharge increases the load on Kauai’s oil-fired power plant.

  3. Charlie Chimknee December 3, 2019 8:52 am Reply

    Aloha Jessica Else,

    Would you tell us how much our county pays for a 30 passenger bus, a “smaller” bus, and a 15 passenger van bought from our local car dealers.

    Bus service every 15 minutes should take priority over. 1 hour bus waits…after all more people would take the bus, but who,with modern time constraints can afford the time to take the bus…just the retired and unemployed mostly.

  4. Debra Kekaualua December 3, 2019 8:57 am Reply

    Great! maybe all the new trannybusses, tour buses, school buses etc can be retrofitted and a TBO subdivision made for our houseless tenants. Never tiny homes, that is nonsensical and fedwreckian to say the least of the reservation Market Place And Kmu camp!

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