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Seven new shelters built for West Maui bus riders

By Staff | Oct 15, 2015

The new bus shelters are situated along Lower Honoapiilani Road at Napili Shores (both sides), Kahana Manor (both sides), Honokowai Beach Park and Honokowai Market Place (both sides). 

WEST MAUI – “We want our riders to be happy,” Maui County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Director Jo Anne Johnson Winer told the Lahaina News in an interview last week in Wailuku.

With seven shelters on the West Side constructed within the past fiscal year, locals are pleased to be out of the rain and sun.

The new shelters are situated along Lower Honoapiilani Road at Napili Shores (both sides), Kahana Manor (both sides), Honokowai Beach Park and Honokowai Market Place (both sides).

According to MCDOT Engineer Jim Oster, bus stop improvements depend on ridership. On an average, Oster continued, “If you have ten to 15 boardings per day at a bus stop, then the bus stop improvements program will get you a shelter and other bus stop amenities.”

There are about 47 West Side bus stops and 190 countywide.

“We are planning on improving 50 bus stops in the system at this time,” Oster observed. “We’re doing about seven to eight a year with our annual CIP (Capital Improvement Program) allotment of between $700,000 to $800,000. We have finished the improvement of 21 bus stops now, and we’re starting the next nine locations next month.

“West Maui is pretty much complete,” he noted.

Oster explained that bus ridership has stabilized: “We don’t expect any substantial growth from what we already have.”

He detailed the stats: “Ridership has been tracked since 2007, and the total number of boardings on a system-wide basis through the present time is 16,426,894. We currently average between 2.4 and 2.5 million boardings per year.”

However, Winer observed, West Side routes could change in the future with the construction of the next phase of the Lahaina Bypass.

The cost of the custom-designed and manufactured structures ranges from $26,000 to $30,000, not including shipping, “but the site design, concrete pad and ADA access are separate costs which all add to the total costs for the bus stop improvements,” Oster advised.

“Each shelter is designed in consideration of the space available, the type of roof that fits with the local surroundings, number and type of seats – some shelters such as Queen Ka’ahumanu Center are much larger since they are at a ‘hub’ – design of the artistic features, screened or not, etc.”

The custom-designed shelters have graffiti-resistant features and were planned to be hurricane-resistant, constructedwith powder-coated aluminum, graffiti-deterrent paints, replaceable screens and stainless steel fasteners.

“We want our riders to be able to enjoy using public transit, and that is why we have gone the extra mile to erect shelters that will last,” Oster said.

Amenities include solar lighting, recycle and trash receptacles, bike stands and ADA accommodations.

“The colors basically mimic our bus logo colors… The modeling of the colors on the post is also a deterrent for graffiti, because it is easily repaired. If it was a solid color, somebody wrote on it, and you came back and sprayed over it with the color, then you’d have a bright color against the old faded colors. So by modeling, we’ve allowed that graffiti can be removed quite easily,” he added.

The cost of the various West Side shelters range from $75,000 to $135,000.

“Each one is a little different,” Oster commented.

As an example, he cited the cost of the Honokowai Market Place stop as $135,000, attributing the high price to the amount of roadwork associated with the installation.

As with other public amenities, the shelters are paid for with public funds, Oster said.

Winer described the breakdown of costs, budget-wise: “We get about 27 percent of our budget for our bus operations from fares. That’s a pretty good rate of return. The other thing – in fact taxpayers should know this – the monies to fund the bus operations come generally from the highway fund, which is the gas tax.”

The Department of Transportation has objectives: to improve the quality as well as the quantity of service.

“Ultimately, our goal is to have three transit hubs in South, West and Central Maui and to have services provided on the half-hour for our most heavily traveled routes, rather than just on the hour,” Oster said.

At the end of the year a phone app will be launched, giving riders the ability to track and locate buses in route at any time during the day.

With an update of the short-range transit plan on the drawing board, the MCDOT will be announcing a community meeting.

“It will more than likely be in November,” Winer predicted.

“When that meeting is announced,” the former County Councilwoman added, “we want people to come and give us input for services, routing, areas where they see we may need improve.”

Consultants will be on-hand to provide a price tag on associated upgrades.

Fares are currently: General Boarding, $2; Daily Pass, $4. Monthly passes range from $30 to $45, depending on service.

For more information call 871-4838 or e-mailpublic.transit@mauicounty.gov.