Get ready Honolulu residents, TheBus is about to get a makeover with brand new hybrid electric buses.
At a press conference Monday at the Kalihi Transit Center, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said besides cutting down on pollution and noise, the new buses will also increase fuel economy.
“Because they’re all electric hybrid, we’re saving a lot of money on fuel,” he said. “We’re saving electricity, using oil, and that means more money is staying here on Oahu instead of being shipped off to other places.”
The city now has four hybrid electric buses, which costs a million dollars a piece, and it’s looking into purchasing eight more buses. The current fleet will service the Middle Street route going through Kalihi, downtown, Waikiki and Kapahulu.
Officials say the buses are being completely funded by federal grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“There’s a lot of controversy regarding our rail project and getting an extension of the county surcharge tax,” the mayor said, “but for me standing here next to this bus, it is about bus and rail together. It’s about social equality and transportation equity, integrated and operating to serve the people of this island, and we’re moving into the 21st century with this new bus and with rail integrated together.
“We’re saving and planning for a new future that I hope everyone will travel with us and embrace,” he said.
The city also rolled out Monday a retrofitted ambulance-bus called the EMS Ambu-Bus. It is equipped with cots and medical supplies and will be able to triage up to 28 patients at once.
The ambulance-bus will be use only for mass situations and not individual 9-1-1 calls.