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King Street TheBus only lane opens

The King Street bus-only lane as seen from Punchbowl

HONOLULU – The City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Transportation Services’ new bus-only lane on King Street is officially open. TheBusLane will utilize the rightmost travel lane on eastbound King Street from Dillingham Boulevard, through downtown, and ending at Punchbowl Street.

With the technical assistance of the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge, the city was able to design and construct the newest bus-only lane serving metropolitan Honolulu. As the state’s busiest bus corridor, King Street was chosen for this transit priority project, formalizing the use of the street’s right land for buses only. King Street serves 36 different TheBus routes coming from Leeward and Central Oʻahu and the North Shore. Reducing any delay from congestion on King Street will improve bus service and safety for these routes and riders, and reduce bus operation expenses. The bus-only lane will ensure riders are able to get to their destinations quicker, while reducing operations costs to idling buses.

“A lane just for buses means bus riders will be able to get to their destinations quicker and without as many disruptions,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “Dedicated bus lanes are just one of the many goals this administration is driving toward in order to build a robust multi-modal transportation system. Some of the others include dedicated bike lanes, safe pedestrian sidewalks and crossings, and in the near future, an elevated rail system. It’s all about a future where we thrive as a people, while addressing the challenges of climate change.”

The King Street bus only lane not only helps bus riders and operators traverse downtown Honolulu a lot quicker, but also helps meet the City’s Complete Streets goals of providing safe travel, promoting public health, and accommodating all modes of transportation, including foot, bicycle automobile and public transit.

“This partnership shows just one of the innovative ways cities have stepped up on climate solutions even as the national government stepped back over the past four years,” said Josh Stanbro, chief resilience officer for the City and County of Honolulu. “We’re grateful to the support from the American Climate City Challenge which saved taxpayer dollars on this project, and we’re thrilled that electric buses will soon be using this bus-only lane to give Honolulu a triple win with safer pedestrians, faster transit rides, and cleaner air for everyone.”

New signs and pavement markings including red paint in the rightmost lane indicate transit priority that the right lane of King Street is for City buses only. Vehicles making right-hand turns will be allowed into the bus only lane to do so at designated openings in the lane. Delineators have also been installed at the end of the bus-only lane on the corner of King Street and Punchbowl. These delineators were installed to deter drivers from making sudden right-hand turns onto Punchbowl, which can cause on-board injury for bus riders due to the sudden braking required by bus operators. No changes are being made to parking or loading zones.

“We’ve been supporting Honolulu and 24 other cities in making it safer and easier to hop on a bus, ride your bike, or walk around town,” said Amanda Eaken, the transportation director of the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge at NRDC. “While we all know that public transportation is an affordable option and a green option, it should be a fast option, too. That’s why I’m so excited about this new bus lane, the first in Honolulu since the ‘80s and along the state’s busiest bus corridor. Residents will be able to get where they need to go more safely and more quickly, all while supporting a more sustainable and resilient Honolulu.”

For more information on the King Street bus-only lane, please visit

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