(This letter concerns the Maui bus system, which we wrote about in the May 3, 2007 cover story “Easy Rider.”)
When Roberts took over the operation of the Maui bus system from MEO almost a year ago there was an immediate improvement. However, the service has gradually deteriorated and is now almost back to the MEO level. Here are some of the problems I have noticed on the Central routes.
The drivers think nothing of leaving a stop early, which is much worse than leaving late because those who miss the bus have to wait another hour. Several times I have mentioned to the driver that (s)he was leaving five, six or even seven minutes early, which will cause some people to miss appointments, classes and so on.
They always ignore me. They apparently do this to compensate for gradually falling behind schedule and running quite late toward the end of the day.
At the Ka‘ahumanu Mall one Wailuku bus (#1) is scheduled to leave at the half hour, while the reverse route (#2) is scheduled to leave on the hour. So near the half hour you get on the bus marked “Wailuku” assuming it is the #1 but it’s really the #2 running 25 minutes late.
Since they don’t put the numbers on the bus you get on the wrong one and end up wasting an hour or more. Can it be so hard to label the bus with the route numbers?
Another problem is inconsistent policies. Some people will ask to be let off at nonscheduled stops and the driver complies. Others are denied such requests. Similarly, you may ring the bell just before a certain stop. The driver says, “We always stop here, so don’t ring the bell.” Okay, next time you don’t and the driver sails past the stop because no one is waiting there. You say, “Whoa! Let me off,” and the driver scowls as (s)he pulls over and says, “Next time ring the bell.”
Come on, guys, you can do better than this.
-Kurt Butler, via email