A donation of 10 retired minibuses from the City and County of Honolulu will help Hawaii County’s Mass Transit Agency save an estimated $20,000 per week amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 33-passenger buses will be used to replace routes currently being run by contractor Roberts Hawaii, according to Mass Transit Agency Administrator Brenda Carreira’s request for the County Council to approve a resolution accepting the used vehicles from Oahu Transit Services.
The weekly savings amount may seem high, but that’s because the figure is based on the cost to contract Roberts Hawaii’s 40-foot buses, said Maile David, chairperson of the Committee on Finance that’s set to take up Resolution 776-20 on Tuesday.
“Right now, they (Roberts Hawaii) are having to use their big buses and making multiple trips because of the social distancing,” said David. … “It will really help Mass Transit with their services. Especially during COVID, anything we can get to help us through this time is basically very beneficial to the community, especially when people are going back to work and they use the mass transit system to do that — that is a huge help.”
The value of the donation is estimated at $50,000, or $5,000 per bus, which will offset the cost of shipping that the county has agreed to cover, she said.
Robert’s Tours and Transportation Inc., doing business as Roberts Hawaii, won the county contract to supplement county mass transit services after a competitive bidding process and a bid protest. The system was formerly run by Polynesian Adventure Tours.
The terms of the agreement include an initial three years with two one-year options to renew upon agreement by both parties. Rates for services is based on hourly rates for drivers and buses submitted by Robert’s Tours and Transportation, Inc. and billed to the County based on actual usage.
The county earlier this year welcomed four new 25-foot buses its fleet funded via grant. The $5.1 million in federal funding announced last fall was to fund a total of 10 buses for the county.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday’s Committee on Finance being held at the Hawaii County Building in Hilo will not be open to the public but will be livestreamed by the county at www.hawaiicounty.gov. A full agenda for the meeting, including information on ways to testify, can also be found on the county website.