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City restores another bus routeUPDATED 7:31 PM HST Aug 26, 2013Video Transcript
Another bus route has been restored, fulfilling one of the campaign promises made last year by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. However keeping city buses on track into the future will be a challenge. KITV4's Andrew Pereira joins us with more. Andrew, how will the city do more with less? Yunji and Paula... everything is on the table, including the further tweaking of routes, or going big with bus ads. Bus No. 13 was among 21 routes adjusted or eliminated under former mayor Peter Carlisle. On Sunday, 13 was a lucky number for those who use the popular route. KIRK CALDWELL: "WHAT IT MEANS HERE IS THAT 37 BUSES THAT LEAVE FROM LILIHA, COME DOWN TO CHINATOWN, INTO WAIKIKI AND THEN UP TO UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII, THEY CAME EVERY 20 MINUTES, ARE NOW COMING EVERY 15 MINUTES." That means Route 13 will now carry as many as 1,000 more passengers per day. But with the city facing a budget shortfall of $156 million in the next fiscal year, keeping all bus routes intact will be a challenge. Mayor Kirk Caldwell made a pledge: KIRK CALDWELL: "WE'RE NOT CUTTING BACK ON OUR BUS SERVICE, THOSE ROUTES THAT ARE IN PLACE, THOSE THAT WE RESTORED AND ENHANCED, WILL REMAIN IN PLACE." Under city policy, riders must cover 27 to 33 percent of the operating cost for The Bus. On Friday, the mayor signed a bill that increases the cost of the four day adult visitor pass from $25 to $35. However the increase is only expected to raise about $200,000 per year. The subsidy for the bus is currently $150 million dollars, and that's why the city is looking at the possibility of ads on bus exteriors. KIRK CALDWELL: "AND THERE IS A BALANCE AND OF COURSE WE'LL ENGAGE WITH THE COMMUNITY BEFORE WE GO FORWARD ON THAT." For members of the City Council, next year's projected budget deficit might as well be Mt. Everest, that's how imposing the number has become. ANN KOBAYASHI: "THIS $156 MILLION IT SEEMS LIKE INSURMOUNTABLE AND THAT'S IF THE CITY REMAINS STATIC." It's costing $750,000 per year to increase the frequency of Bus No. 13. The Outdoor Circle remains against reversing the state law that would allow ads on bus exteriors, fearing it opens the door to more outdoor- advertising.