60,000 students returning to school through September, expect traffic

Hawaii Independent Staff

HONOLULU—City and State officials are reminding Hawaii motorists about the expected increased morning traffic due to the upcoming school year.

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 at 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.

Motorists are advised to:

· Plan commutes earlier or later to avoid peak traffic.
· Anticipate longer commutes with the increased traffic.
· Keep vehicles maintained to prevent stalls and break-downs.
· Use alternative modes of commuting like walking or biking.
· Encourage ridesharing, such as carpooling, vanpooling and riding TheBus.

Honolulu 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 the Honolulu Police Department, the State Department of Transportation (HDOT) and the traffic reporters who provide information from the TMC during rush hours.

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 (808) 848-4500.