Hawai‘i County Public Transit to Remain Operational Through Pandemic

April 12, 2020, 7:30 AM HST (Updated April 12, 2020, 12:14 AM)
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Hele-On mass transit Hawai‘i County bus. Hawai‘i County website photo.

Public transit won’t go the way of lazy beach days and evenings at your favorite pub, as the service is considered an essential function under the statewide quarantine and lockdown orders.

US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) has announced that Hawai‘i County will receive $4.5 million in federal funding to support public transit operations during the coronavirus pandemic. The new funding is part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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“For the essential workers who rely on public transportation, this new funding means the Hawai‘i County bus system will have the resources to continue operating while keeping passengers and transit employees safe,” said Sen. Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The federal funds can help pay for the expenses necessary to operate, maintain and manage the Hawai‘i County bus system and can be used for such costs as driver salaries, fuel, personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies. The CARES Act funding can also be used for administrative leave, such as leave for employees due to reductions in service or leave required for a quarantined worker.

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