First electric bus fleet hits Honolulu streets

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The buses feature exterior wraps inspired by Hawaiian children who participated in the Blue Planet Foundation's "Driving Forward" Art Challenge program.
The buses feature exterior wraps inspired by Hawaiian children who participated in the Blue Planet Foundation's "Driving Forward" Art Challenge program.

JTB Hawaii and its subsidiary, Travel Plaza Transportation, have unveiled a fleet of electric buses that feature colorful exterior wraps inspired by Hawaiian children who participated in the Blue Planet Foundation's "Driving Forward" Art Challenge program.

The three full-size buses represent Hawaii's first electric-powered commercial bus fleet, and each one can carry 77 passengers, reach a top speed of 65 mph, and can travel 250 miles on a single charge. The air-conditioned buses will initially operate routes provided by JTB in Waikiki and downtown Honolulu, with service beginning in April.

"These electric-powered buses are vital to the future of JTB Hawaii, as they offer the quietest, most energy-efficient and cleanest form of commercial ground transportation available for people wanting to enjoy tours," Hiroyuki "Keith" Kitagawa, president and CEO of JTB Hawaii, said in a statement.

Under the leadership of Gov. David Ige, Hawaii has committed to producing 100% of its energy from clean, renewable sources by 2045.

Last  year, Blue Planet Foundation encouraged children to submit art that reflected how they envisioned Hawaii's renewable transportation future. More than 40 pieces of art were selected to be displayed as part of the bus wrap design.

"After Governor Ige made it a priority to utilize 100% clean energy, JTB Hawaii set out to become the state's first tourism company to offer electric-powered ground transportation services to help achieve that goal," Kitagawa said. "The introduction of these three electric buses is a first step in how JTB Hawaii is working toward a sustainable tourism business model for the good of our company's future and that of Hawaii. Environmental sustainability is a task that our tourism industry must aggressively confront for the sake of Hawaii's future."

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