November 2006 Home   Newsletters

January 2007

February 2007

President's Message (Piilani Kaopuiki)
Rail Proponents Turn Down Prime Time on Television (Pearl Johnson)
PBS's Island Insights Hosts League (Pearl Johnson)
Rail Plan Information on the Internet (Pearl Johnson)
Ah Quon McElrath Addresses League (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Rail vs Bus Decision Coming (Charles Carole & Pearl Johnson)

Rail vs Bus Decision Coming

In December, the City Council passed Bill 79 designating a fixed guideway for rail OR BUS as the Locally Preferred Alternative for mass transit in Honolulu. The route chosen is from Kapolei to UH-Manoa with a Waikiki branch. Mayor Mufi Hannemann has signed the bill.

The City Council is now discussing Bill 92 to select either bus or train as the technology for the city's Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project. Only Council members Kobayashi and Marshall have mentioned the possibility of using buses instead of trains on the fixed guideway.

A guideway for buses uses magnets imbedded in the road, allowing the road to be used by other vehicles. H-1 has such magnets for the zipper lane. Commuters drive over the magnets every day.

The elevated highway would be reversible for morning and evening commutes, with the possibility to accommodate Aloha Stadium traffic by making the lanes converge and then disperse from the Stadium.

Honolulu LWV supports the use of buses instead of trains on the fixed guideway for the following reasons:

  1. Express buses on an elevated highway from Kapolei to UH can travel at an average 55 miles per hour while trains will travel an average 22-25 miles per hour with 30 stops on the way. Think of going to the 30th floor of a building on an elevator which stops at every floor. Trains are obliged to stop at every stop even when no one wants to get on or off. Deceleration and acceleration will slow the trains to about 25 miles an hour.

  2. The elevated road will cost less than $1 billion, or about 1/5 the cost of rail transit Furthermore, federal highway funding can pay 80% of the cost. The maximum subsidy given to rail systems recently has been $500 million. That is 10% of the estimated $5 billion cost of rail.

  3. The elevated road will also be able to accommodate ambulances, fire engines and vanpools.

  4. The fixed guideway will lessen congestion on H-1 highway more than rail will. Buses speeding by will tempt commuters stuck in traffic to get out of their cars.

Charles Carole
Pearl Johnson

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