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CITY KICKS OFF BACK TO SCHOOL CAMPAIGN

(Wed., Aug. 10, 2010)—City and State officials alerted the public today about the expected increased morning traffic due to the upcoming school year. 

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle reminded motorists that their morning commute into Honolulu will become busier because approximately 60,000 college and private school students are heading back to class this month and next. Drivers are being advised to adjust their commute times to avoid the heavy traffic periods.

On Monday, August 22, the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus and four community colleges on Oahu will comprise the largest group heading back to class with a combined 40,000 students. Some private schools will begin instruction earlier this month, with Kamehameha Schools and Mid-Pacific Institute starting classes today.

Some commuting tips include:

·        Plan your commute earlier or later to avoid peak traffic.

·        Anticipate longer commutes with the increased traffic

·        Keep your vehicle maintained to prevent stalls and break-downs

·        Use alternative modes of commuting like walking or biking

·        Encourage ridesharing, such as:

o       Carpooling

o       Vanpooling

o       Riding TheBus

City transportation director Wayne Yoshioka said that the City Department of Transportation Services (DTS) will optimize traffic signals islandwide to improve traffic flow. This optimization effort, anchored by its Traffic Management Center (TMC), helps identify and respond to traffic incidents in coordination with HPD, the State Department of Transportation (HDOT) and the traffic reporters who provide information from the TMC during rush hours.  

“The planned Joint Traffic Management Center will expand the capabilities of the TMC by eventually housing, under one roof, the traffic control operations of DTS and HDOT,” said Yoshioka. “It will also house the operations of first-responder agencies such as Fire, Police, and Emergency Services. Later phases could accommodate the Department of Emergency Management.”

During this busy time of the year, Honolulu police officers will be monitoring traffic and assisting with traffic flow. Chief Louis Kealoha encouraged motorists to leave home early, pay attention to the drivers around them, and keep their cars in good working condition.   

“You don’t want to be the driver who causes the stall or collision that creates a traffic jam for everyone behind you,” said Chief Kealoha.

Roger Morton, President and General Manager of Oahu Transit Services, Inc. which operates TheBus and TheHandiVan for the City reported that TheBus offers 34 commuter express routes. 

“TheBus currently serves riders from various suburban areas of Honolulu to Pearl Harbor, Downtown, Waikiki, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa,” said Morton.

For more information on bus route service, call 848-5555 or check TheBus website at www.thebus.org. A University Bus Pass Program or “U-PASS” provides bus passes to Oahu’s university and college students at reduced cost. Currently, there are 15 participating institutions, which include all University of Hawaii campuses on Oahu, Hawaii Pacific University and Chaminade University. TheBus also offers a commuter transportation program that distributes bus passes or transit voucher benefits to employees of participating companies. For more information on both programs, call TheBus at 848-4500.

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Media Contact: Louise Kim McCoy, 768-7798