HONOLULU — The Hawaii Board of Education voted unanimously last week to increase the bus fare for public school students from 50 cents to $1.25 for a one-way ride.
The price of a quarterly pass will increase from $60 to $72, and the price of an annual pass will rise from $225 to $270, the Star Advertiser reports. Unexpired bus passes purchased under the old prices will be honored.
The increased fares, which are effective immediately, will generate an additional $1 million annually. This estimate takes into account a potential 5-percent decrease in ridership due to the higher fees, according to the state Department of Education. The fee increase is needed to make up for a $9.6 million legislative cut in funding for student transportation.
The state Legislature allotted $49.3 million for student transportation this year, down from $58.9 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30, according to the Star Advertiser. The cost of providing student bus transportation is expected to reach $74 million this fiscal year — an increase of $2 million over the previous fiscal year.
Officials are also considering eliminating some routes. The Department of Education will present a report to the Legislature in November outlining other possible solutions for paring student transportation costs.