The Helpful Services On TheBus

Jade Moon
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Wednesday - August 20, 2008
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After last week’s column, I received quite a few e-mails from people who told me they, too, are rediscovering the pleasures (and in some cases, the frustrations) of riding TheBus.

Here’s one from Janice Kemp of Mililani: “At 50, I’m a recent Bus convert. In June I said, ‘When gas hits $4.00 a gallon I’m riding TheBus.’ Well, it did, and I am. In addition to the obvious cost savings ($225/month for gas and parking) and contributions to the environment, the primary benefit for me is peace of mind. I thoroughly enjoy the early 5:10 a.m. express ride in from Mililani (takes 40 minutes) to contemplate the day ahead. Also, since everyone in the office is cognizant of my 4:35 p.m. departure at the end of the day, I actually get out of the workplace at a decent hour. Nothing is more relaxing than having someone else do the driving. Mr. Express Driver, Route 84A to Mililani at 4:35 p.m., appears stern. However, he only expects you to do your thing (be at the Alapai Stop on time) and he will do his thing (get you to Mililani in an hour). I’ve given up driving my truck into town for good. Thanks for listening!”

Janice, thanks for your feedback. I would love to hear from more of you about your experiences with TheBus - good and bad.

Also, here’s a little more information from the Oahu Transit Services. In last week’s column I talked about the need for consistency in the automated recordings that announce the stop locations. Michelle Kennedy, manager of customer communications, says a lot of care is put into production.

“We use Puakea Nogelmeier, an esteemed kumu of Hawaiian language, as TheVoice of TheBus, who verifies the meaning and pronunciation of every audio phrase we record.”

And, she says, the announcements aren’t just for the sight-impaired.

“The system is designed for everyone’s benefit. We will be adding new streets, more landmarks, as well as new programmed announcements that will make riders aware of schedule changes, reminders (i.e., don’t forget to purchase your bus pass), and public service messages.”

Another service Kennedy wants you to know about is a program for physically challenged people who would like to learn how to ride TheBus.

“They would simply call our customer service office (848-4500) to make an appointment. This has been especially helpful to some of our riders who have wheelchairs and would like some familiarization with the various wheelchair lifts and navigation within TheBus. For the sight-impaired, we have provided training to familiarize them with the sounds, movement and interior configuration for each bus type.”

This is good information for those thinking of giving TheBus a try. It’s not for everyone, of course, but it can be a convenient, environmentally friendly and relatively cheap transportation option for those suffering from gas pump shock or traffic fatigue. Since ridership is up 5.4 percent, it’s obvious more people are coming to that conclusion.

Next adventure for us - TheBoat!

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