Photo: Emily Metcalf
Photo: Emily Metcalf

In response to public protest over cuts in City bus service, Honolulu City Councilman Tom Berg (District 1: Ewa Beach, Kapolei, Waianae Coast) co-authored Resolution 12-173 to request Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle reverse the course that cut but routes and refrain from further cuts being implemented.

“If we want to reduce traffic, enhanced bus service accomplishes that. Cutting routes, packing bus patrons in like sardines, making them wait longer at bus stops and forcing them to transfer, is not the answer. We need to restore bus service immediately,” stated Councilman Tom Berg.

Berg was the only vote against passage of Bill 14. This bill contained the funding for bus operations that was $3 million short to cover fuel costs. “The council cannot trigger the mechanism that we reopen Bill 14 and restore the funds. The mayor however can and this resolution urges him to revisit his bus cuts and would reflect upon his passage, the council concurs cutting the bus service was a mistake needing to be corrected,” stated Berg.

Colleague and co-author of the resolution, Council Chair Ernie Martin said he hopes that the Mayor will direct his administration to seek other federal funding sources to restore bus services to a more acceptable level.  “Rural communities have been especially hard hit. We should exhaust all potential funding sources that could be used to restore full service to these areas,” Martin said.

Discussion of cuts to bus service took place on June 28 at the council’s Transportation Committee where testimony from the public reiterated that the changes being implemented are causing hardship. “We are talking about finding $3 million to pay for an increase in fuel cost to operate the bus fleet. This can be accomplished and the resolution will steer the powers that be that our buses are indeed a core function of government and cannot be accomplished,” stated Berg.

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