Football Express buses sidelined
Five companies will take over the service but will charge more than double the price
With the opening home game set to kick off next week, University of Hawaii Warrior football fans need to find transportation other than the low-cost Football Express offered by TheBus to get to Aloha Stadium.
Get on the bus
Pickup locations and private service providers
» Ala Moana Center, Polynesian Adventure
» Downtown area, Polynesian Adventure
» Ewa Beach, Roberts Hawaii
» Hawaii Kai, Roberts Hawaii
» Kahala, Roberts Hawaii
» Kailua, Roberts Hawaii
» Kaimuki, E Noa Corp.
» Kaneohe, Roberts Hawaii
» Kapolei, Roberts Hawaii
» Kunia, Roberts Hawaii
» Manoa, Polynesian Hospitality
» Mililani, Roberts Hawaii
» Palolo, E Noa Corp.
» University of Hawaii, Polynesian Hospitality
» Waikiki, Polynesian Adventure
» E Noa Corp. 591-2561
» Polynesian Adventure 833-3000
» Polynesian Hospitality 526-3567
» Roberts Hawaii 954-8650
The change comes as a result of a new Federal Transit Administration regulation, under which federally funded public agencies such as the city's cannot operate charter services in competition with private operators. So goodbye, $3 one-way fares and $6 round-trip fares.
"It is going to be different," said city Transportation Services Director Wayne Yoshioka. "We would be continuing with it had it not been for this change in the FTA ruling."
Five private charter companies will offer islandwide service, charging $13 for round trips and $8 one way to or from the stadium for each game. Season passes are $60 to $70, depending on the time of purchase. Without reservations, service is on a first-come, first-served basis.
"Understand, (city) buses are purchased using federal funds," Yoshioka said. "Clearly these guys aren't subsidized, and they can't afford to charge that same price. I think it's a very reasonable amount that they've elected to implement here."
Finalized in May, the FTA regulation redefined what constitutes a charter bus service. As a result, TheBus Football Express was prohibited from operating, said Yoshioka.
Warriors supporters are not alone: the regulation has affected football fans nationwide.
Here, the change came as a shock to some longtime Football Express riders.
"People are going to be - what are they going to do?" exclaimed Judie DeBone of Kailua, who has been riding the express for about five years. "That is so counterproductive on our government's part when we are trying to get people out of the cars and into mass transit."
About 8,000 people used the Football Express last year. Fans can still ride TheBus to the game using regular service, with $2 one-way fares for adults, with the closest bus stop across the street.
"I got my game plan, too," DeBone added. "For sure for the opening game I was going to go Roberts Hawaii because I know what a gangbuster that is."
Roberts Hawaii, Polynesian Adventure, Polynesian Hospitality, E Noa Corp. and Travel Plaza Transportation will provide 15 pickup locations across Oahu.
"This service is absolutely critical for our fans given the finite amount of parking at the stadium and the convenience that it's offered over the years," said John McNamara, UH associate athletic director. McNamara estimates there are more than 30,000 individuals in attendance for each game.
For those driving, 8,000 parking spaces are available at Aloha Stadium and more at nearby overflow lots.
Some season ticket holders said the charters' increased fares are nominal and that they will find a way to get to the home opener against Weber State University from Ogden, Utah, on Sept. 6 regardless of the charter bus provider.
"I have season tickets," said Monty Neal. "I have an investment."