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Hawaiʻi Island bus system will be free through at least 2023

Hele-On Bus/Hawaiʻi County

You can now ride the public bus system on Hawaiʻi Island for free. The Hawaiʻi County Mass Transit Agency says its Hele-On bus service will be fare-free through Dec. 31, 2023.

The move to a fare-free system will be funded solely through federal funds. The department says it received more than $6 million in federal pandemic relief funds.

The county also hopes that the free fares will be extended through 2024 once it receives American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The federal money is also being spent on extending its routes and networks.

“We are extremely excited to offer this improved, efficient, and critical resource to our community at no cost,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “There are a myriad of issues contributing to a growing cost of living, so it is our hope that providing free transportation services to our residents will help alleviate some of that burden."

Roth acknowledged the transit system's past reliability issues but encouraged residents to try out Hele-On.

“Higher ridership translates into increased Federal and State formula funding and creates a positive feedback loop for Hele-On to improve and grow the island’s mobility network,” said John Andoh, Hawaiʻi County Mass Transit Administrator and General Manager.

More information can be found at heleonbus.org.

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