TheBus might punt rides to the game
Football Express trips to Aloha Stadium are in doubt due to federal transit regulations
University of Hawaii football fans might have to find ways to get to Aloha Stadium for the Sept. 6 opening home game other than the low-cost TheBus Football Express.
According to a Federal Transit Administration regulation finalized on May 1, public agencies cannot run charter shuttles if there are private charter services "willing and able" to provide the service.
The city Department of Transportation Services is "in the process of complying with that regulation change," said Transportation Director Wayne Yoshioka. "If any of the private firms express interest, of course we would comply with the new regulation and allow them to do it."
An FTA waiver is required to allow TheBus to continue offering game-day shuttles, and can only be granted if private providers in the operating region are uninterested or unable to provide the service.
"What we want to do is make sure everyone is aware of it (the new regulation) and has an opportunity to ask to participate if they want to," said Yoshioka.
Calls to some private transportation companies were not returned yesterday.
In 2006 the future of TheBus Football Express was in limbo due to decreasing ridership and rising operating costs. But during last year's football season, there was an increase in UH Football Express trips to Aloha Stadium, and record high ridership was reported in November.
The Warriors play their home opener against Weber State.
TheBus Web site is still advertising 17 UH Football Express pickup locations across Oahu with one-way fares for $3 and $6 for round-trip fares.
Because of high gas prices, driving to Aloha Stadium and paying for parking could be costlier than TheBus Football Express.
Private transportation services such as Reliable Shuttle can cost $22 and up per person for a round-trip fare in the Honolulu area.
According to the transportation director, most of the football express service is provided by TheBus; however, some football shuttles are provided by private providers.
"We are trying to be very inclusive and notify everyone we can find," Yoshioka added. "We're calling them on the phone and inviting them to a meeting."
"If they are interested, we got to let them provide that service -- essentially not interfere with them providing the service."
Yoshioka said with the first football home game looming, he hopes to resolve the matter soon. The results of the meeting between the city and private shuttle operators should be available sometime next week.