Here is a question from Bob from Wailuku. Candidate McLaughlin, I like to use the bus because I can save on gas. The fare just raised from one dollar to two dollars and while that is still cheaper than driving, I am afraid that the price will continue to rise. What do you plan to do about this?
That is an unfortunate reality that the bus fares did just rise because the operation was losing money and not making money. I have noticed that since the fare went up on July 1, that the buses are less full. Therefore, that won’t really increase profit.
My solution to this is a very simple and effective one. I never would have raised prices. I look on the bus and I see all kinds of ad spaces. In those spaces though, you see things like “Clear the Smoke,” “Buckle Up,” “Go Green,” etc. While those are great community service messages, they don’t bring money to the county.
I am all for seeing a McDonalds or a Coke sign or even local businesses such as Boss Frog’s. The system could make a lot of money on commercial advertising. I would even like to see ads on the outside of the bus and ads at all the bus stops on the seats and the walls. The bus system could make so much money doing this that they could actually lower the fares.
I already know that there unfortunately will be opposition to this idea from those who think they speak for all of Maui. They will say things like, “This ain’t the mainland,” and “we are against commercialization.” They would even use the whales if they could.
I can see it now. “The glare on the ad will reflect on the ocean and it will blind the poor whale,” or some other ridiculous point to satisfy their own political agenda. They will tell me that “We are anti-corporate America and we don’t want it.”
My response to that is ask the people who ride the bus and they will tell you otherwise. They are “anti Paying more.” I know this because I have shared this idea with many regular bus users and all have thought it is a great idea. I have said before that I am for letting people vote on ideas because I am a true believer in government by the people. I would be happy to put this up for vote too, but I feel that only those who regularly use the bus should be allowed to vote. The reason is because they are the ones affected by it.
Thanks for the great question Bob.