The Green Line – Marines’ Okinawa bus line fetes 15 years in business
By David Higgins
On the Okinawa Marine Bases there exists a world class bus service that has been running now over 15 years. On Oct. 14th, the Green Line Bus Service marked the momentous occasion with a big 15th Anniversary Cake Cutting Ceremony.
The goal of the Green Line has always been to offer safe and reliable ground transportation for persons traveling between Marine Corps installations. This service has generally been taken for granted as one that should be provided but what many people don’t realize is that prior to the Green Line’s inception, bus transportation service on the bases had been unreliable and inadequate, to say the least.
The Green Line bus service is free to those who need it but is funded by appropriated funds. Due to the fact that the Green Line is supported using appropriated funds, it’s intended to be used for official purposes only in support of the national defense mission operating within and between Marine Corp facilities and areas on Okinawa, Japan. To this end, the Green Line operates as a ‘shuttle bus’ service, and in order to ride the bus, one must show an ID (i.e. active duty, reserve, retired, military, military family member, base employee traveling for official business).
To date, the Green Line buses have traveled more than 10 million miles and carried more than 13 million passengers. They operate 18 hours a day and 7 days a week, and they have remained in service on the roads of Okinawa with only a few disruptions due to typhoons. Currently, the Green Line fleet consists of over 46 buses that serve 6 camps including MCAS Futenma. The Green Line has come a long way since they turned on the ignition key with a fleet of only 28 buses and 4 vans in 2002.
The Green Line Bus Service is an incredibly great deal. When traveling from base to base on Okinawa using local bus or taxi services, there is no competition. The taxi ride from Camp Hansen to Camp Foster alone will probably run you in the range of ¥8,000. Nonetheless, the Green Line bus service does have some stringent rules that must be respected when riding. First, there is no eating or drinking and you must not use a headset with your cell phone when onboard the buses.
If you are on a Marine Base and need transportation to another base, look no further than the most reliable transit system for military members living on Okinawa. Please remember that real people created this bus system. They set up this service with the intention of improving the quality of life by offering a free convenience easily taken for granted.
It’s important to show our gratitude to the people who provide this reliable and friendly service on a daily basis. Congratulations to the Green Line bus service for operating a respectable business that has been a backbone of the military community on Okinawa for over 15 hard working years.