Residents no longer need to bake in the sun or stand in the rain when catching the bus on the Valley Isle.
Eight newly built bus shelters in Wailuku, Kahului, Makawao and Kihei were dedicated Dec. 27 at the Waiale Road bus shelter.
Mayor Alan Arakawa and Maui County Council members attended the ceremony with county Transportation Director Jo Anne Johnson Winer and others.
Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa unties a ceremonial ribbon while taking part in a bus shelter dedication last week on Waiale Drive in Wailuku. The shelter is one of eight that have been completed, with 32 more scheduled to be built around the island. Arakawa credited the rapid rise in ridership on Maui’s relatively young public transportation system as an important step forward for the island. “We want to make ridership as easy and comfortable as we can,” Arakawa said.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
The eight shelters are the first phase of a islandwide bus shelter project to build 40 shelters, Winer said.
She said she hopes to build eight to 10 shelters every budget cycle, with the next group planned for Lahaina.
Michael Silva, vice president and project manager at the Wailuku-based Ronald M. Fukumoto Engineering, completed the blueprints for the shelters, and the artwork was done by Larry Padilla. The cost for each disabled access-approved shelter varied, but averaged around $25,000.
The shelters' design fit the cultural theme of their communities, as well as their physical locations, Winer said.
The planning and approval process took around two years. The project arose from demand by the island's growing bus rider community.
According to the Department of Transportation, The Maui Bus' ridership rose from approximately 2.3 million in 2011 to nearly 2.8 million in 2012.
"Our transit system is still one of the fastest-growing systems in the country," Winer said.