The union for bus drivers says it’s received concerns about city buses being too crowded.
“We received actually numerous complaints from the bus operators regarding overcrowded buses and people sitting next to each other and not practicing social distancing on the buses,” said President of Teamsters Local 996 Wayne Kaululaau.
The city says the switch to the modified state holiday schedule reduced the bus service by 14-percent so from 45-hundred trips to about 38-hundred. And the city is making adjustments on trips that are overcrowded. The city says since last week it’s increased weekday trips on about 5 routes:
Route A between Waipahu and UH Manoa.
Route 2 is one of the busiest routes between Kalihi and Waikiki.
Route 3 between Salt Lake and Kaimuki.
Route 9 between Pearl Harbor and Kaimuki.
And one of its longest routes, route 40 between Makaha and Ala Moana.
“We added extra buses on during the time periods when that overcrowding condition happened and what we’ll do we would either double head a bus by sending out two or we will offset them by a few minutes,” said Deputy Director of the Department of Transportation Jon Nouchi.
The city says if the bus gets crowded, it has the driver call central control on what to do next. These calls are on a case-by-case basis. We’re told in the town area it might not be an issue to ask riders to take the next bus. But in rural areas, the city says it may not be practical to make people wait.
“We are not in a position to deny anybody any trips at this moment understanding that I think that’s a great burden to place on our operators, but we do use that data on a daily basis to determine where we need to add more service,” said Nouchi.
The city is urging people to only use the bus for essential trips. Officials are also looking at getting face shields and a better screened off compartment for bus drivers.