TheBus will be free for 5 days beginning Aug. 22
To regain and encourage ridership, regular fares for TheBus on Oʻahu will be suspended for five days later this month. Riders will need to have HOLO cards to participate, which is how the city will evaluate the program.
Free fares will last from Aug. 22 to Aug. 26, which coincides with the return of students to University of Hawai‘i campuses, back-to-school traffic, and O‘ahu private schools.
“We are looking to try to have a goal of getting back to about 75% of our ridership, we're now at about 61%,” Honolulu’s Transportation Director Roger Morton said Wednesday.
Fewer riders translate to a loss of revenue. According to Morton, the public transportation system is losing about $20 million a year in revenue.
The Honolulu City Council approved the fare suspension unanimously on Wednesday.
“I am excited to join the city council, administration, and O‘ahu Transit Services to announce free fare week on TheBus, which was unanimously approved by the council yesterday," said Councilmember Radiant Cordero, chair of the Transportation, Sustainability, and Health Committee.
“Through this action, we provide our residents with the opportunity to vary their regular commuting methods and experience our excellent, award-winning public transportation system. I am hopeful this free fare week will introduce new riders to the convenience, benefits, and overall enjoyment of utilizing TheBus more often in everyday activities," she said in a press release.
The program will be applicable to the entire island of Oʻahu. The department will also be giving out free HOLO cards from Aug. 15 through Aug. 26.
The standard adult fare for TheBus is $3 with a daily cap of $7.50 when using a HOLO card.