Honolulu proposes increase to senior, disabled bus fares

HONOLULU (AP) — The Honolulu Rate Commission proposed an increase in the city's bus fares for riders including those who are 65 and older, riders holding Medicare cards and passengers with disabilities.

Riders in the senior, Medicare and disabled category would pay a maximum of $60 annually, an increase of $25, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday.

Those riders would see a single ride increase from $1 to $1.25.

The basic adult single fare for those 18 to 64 would rise to $3 from the current $2.75, about a 9% increase.

The youth monthly pass would rise to $40, up 14% from the current $35. The system's $385 annual passes would be eliminated.

The commission voted last week to approve the proposal, which will be the subject of public hearings March 3, March 5 and March 10.

The increased fare proposal is projected to bring in less revenue than a recommended fare box recovery ratio policy of 25% to 30% of costs. Taxpayers subsequently would still pay for more than 75% of TheBus' operations.

A key component of the proposal is a requirement for regular transit riders who want to receive discounts for frequent travel to pay with recently introduced Holo cards, which work like prepaid debit cards.

The plan proposes that passengers using Holo cards be “capped,” or not charged, for more than 2.5 rides per day, or 27 rides per month.

A new $3 daily cap would replace the existing $2 pass program allowing passengers to catch as many rides as possible each day. The change would equate to a 50% increase.

The commission could make further changes based on the feedback received in the coming weeks, Chairwoman Cheryl Soon said.