Hawaii’s transportation system is getting greener. Friday, JTB Hawaii and its subsidiary, Travel Plaza Transportation, unveiled the state’s first electric-powered commercial bus fleet at a blessing ceremony in Iwilei.
Hawaii’s transportation system is getting greener.
Friday, JTB Hawaii and its subsidiary, Travel Plaza Transportation, unveiled the state’s first electric-powered commercial bus fleet at a blessing ceremony in Iwilei.
Three 40-foot buses, purchased for nearly $5-million by JTB Hawaii, will be used to transport visitors from Japan between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu beginning in April. Each bus can hold 77 passengers and can travel up to 250 miles in a single charge, which takes 3 hours and 30 minutes.
The project started two and half years ago, after Governor David Ige signed a bill into law in 2015 making Hawaii the first state in the country with a 100% renewable energy goal by 2045.
“We found out how we can contribute for the tourism industry here in Hawaii because nowadays we have a lot of problems and issues,” explained Hiroyuki “Keith” Kitagawa, President and CEO of JTB Hawaii, “How we can solve these issues? That’s why we decided to adapt these electric buses,”
The buses feature designs by Hawaii schoolchildren, created through a program by Blue Planet Foundation.
“We conducted an art contest with a bunch of schools across the state, and the winners of that art contest are now featured on these buses permanently. So, their visions of a clean transportation future will be visible for all of Hawaii to see,” said Lauren Reichelt, Clean Transportation Lead with Blue Planet Foundation.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says, Friday’s ceremony is in line with a similar effort to convert 550 city buses to all electric.
“We definitely are on the path to see a fossil free Hawaii by 2035, 2045. I think we can get there before then. It just means doing things like this. Actually doing the act, not talking it, but doing it, and today we’re doing it with three electric buses. The first three in the State of Hawaii,” said Caldwell.