By TOM CALLIS
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Hawaiian Paradise Park residents may soon not have to travel so far to catch a bus.
Hele-On, as part of a pilot project, is planning to add two stops within the subdivision possibly as early as March, said Tiffany Kai, acting administrator.
Three routes will be assigned to HPP. They will make stops at the community center on Makuu Drive and fire station on Paradise Drive.
Residents will be able to take the bus three times a day Monday through Friday and once in the morning and afternoon on Saturday.
Hele-On doesn’t provide bus service on Sundays.
Kai said residents will be able to use the community center as a park-and-ride.
Currently, HPP residents have to catch the bus along Highway 130.
That can be a long trip for some.
The neighborhood stretches over four miles makai of the highway.
June Conant, HPP Owners Association president, said some residents even hitchhike to get to the bus.
“We’re hoping that it helps a lot,” she said. “We see people walking up and down these streets all the time to get to the highway to get on the bus.”
Conant said the bus service will help the elderly residents in particular.
“We have older friends who don’t drive as much anymore,” she said. “They would love to have some bus service.”
Kai said Hele-On will make a determination after six months whether to continue the bus service.
The three routes that will be assigned to HPP will just add the stops to their trips.
Kai said Hele-On offers 11 routes between Hilo and Pahoa. Continuing the service will depend on ridership numbers, she said. No ridership goals have been set yet, Kai said.
Kai attributed the pilot project to a “community effort” from HPP residents.
No stops are being considered for any other Puna subdivisions at this time.
“It’s something we would like to do in the future,” she said.