In this two-part report, Curbing Cars intern Matt Varcak transports us away from dreary weather and takes us to Hawaii, a surprising hot spot for public transportation. Today, he looks at Maui.
By Matthew Varcak
Hawaii’s third most populous island, Maui, is also its second-largest at roughly 727 square miles. And in the past dozen years, the demand for public transportation has exploded.
The Maui Bus program began in 2002 as a pilot program to accommodate the increased need for affordable transportation. By the end of 2003, the program had 101,508 passenger boardings, and by the end of 2004 that number had grown to 117,490.
For the fiscal year 2013, 2.51 million passengers boarded the Maui Bus system.
And these are not all tourists. According to Marc Takamori, deputy director for the County of Maui Department of Transportation, 80 percent of the passengers are locals. Takamori also said there is a demand from riders to increase the frequency of service in addition to adding more routes into areas not currently served. Continue reading