by Baron Sekiya, Hawaii247.com
Kupuna and county workers got the first official ride on the anticipated Hele-On double-decker bus on Friday, as county officials led a trek around the Big Island of Hawaii, picking up donations for the Hawaii Island Food Basket.
Baron Sekiya was there to film the bus passing through Hilo, before it drove north along the Hamakua Coast to Waimea. The huge new bus also made stops at the Old Kona Airport, Ocean View’s Malama Market, and Volcano Village’s Cooper Center.
The double-decker bus is not just a first for Hawaii County’s Mass Transit Agency, it is a first for the entire state. The 14 foot tall bus (The Alexander Dennis Enviro500) can seat 89 passengers, and costs just under $900,000.
The Hele-On bus remains free to ride, since a measure to enact a $1 fare failed to pass the council. However, the free “Kokua Zone” service will expire on June 30th, which could hike fares a up by a few dollars, if the ordinance is not renewed.