In a ”’Mises Institute Daily Article”’ arguing against war in Iraq, the author made an interesting observation about government in general that applies well to some leaders in Hawaii: “Government knows only one mode of operation: coercion.”
This principle is particularly applicable to Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris’ insistence that the city implement the in-town Bus Rapid Transit project, despite all logic to the contrary. The mayor intends to go forward with this project, no matter how damaging it will be to those who have or do business in Waikiki, the private transit companies it will compete with, or to the overall traffic problem.
As has been noted before in HawaiiReporter, the in-town BRT will make traffic problems worse, not better. Dedicating whole lanes of already busy streets to the BRT will reduce the number of remaining lanes for everyday automobiles, not to mention commercial traffic.
Since the vast majority of these drivers don’t live along the BRT route, they will never be serviced by the BRT. Instead, they will continue to drive because driving is, and will always be, the most efficient way to get to and from work. So these people are going to have to make do with reduced lanes, an imposition that will greatly increase traffic, not alleviate it.
The idea that the in-town BRT is being built for local commuters, is equally faulty. There are less than 20,000 residents in Waikiki. Only a small portion of these actually work downtown. Most that live in Waikiki, work in Waikiki, which is why they live there. The idea that running a line between Waikiki and a downtown hub will reduce commuter traffic is clearly false. The majority of commuters come from the outlying areas. There is something else at work here.
In the HawaiiReporter article: http://www.hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?8d3964f5-bbe5-4b4c-87ed-1982e959ee14
the author states, “For example, tour buses on Oahu are not allowed to compete with public transportation during rush hour, even though they could contribute to a service that more closely fit the diverse transportation needs of the community.”
This is the crux of the problem. It is government supplanting the private sector. Government is the only entity allowed to impose a monopoly, with no concern with how much money that monopoly then loses. The larger the monopoly becomes the more money it will lose. Expand TheBus to include the BRT and the deficit will inevitably grow proportionally. All government rapid transit systems run at a deficit, none make a profit. TheBus was once a profitable private enterprise.
The problem here is related to the premise introduced at the beginning: coercion by government is its only mode. Such coercion can only take place at the expense of private enterprise. In this case private enterprise must be forbidden ”’by law”’ not to provide competitive solutions to the monopoly of government. Additionally we are then taxed against our will to pay for the deficit that the monopoly generates, since government monopolies are never as efficient or cost effective as free enterprise. This is ideology taking precedence over reason, force over freedom, coercion over choice, socialism over capitalism.
If a dollar by dollar comparison were done on the money lost on the commute from Ewa and central Oahu communities versus the in-town transit times, there is no doubt where the greater cost would be.
The thousands upon thousands of commuters who are trapped on the various roadways leading into the city for hours far outweigh the transit times of the meager numbers commuting within the city. That a BRT should be first focused on the former segment is also not in doubt. But government works by coercion, not by logic.
The in-town BRT will establish a structure that will create, by design, much more serious traffic problems on Oahu, rather than alleviate them.
*The BRT will worsen traffic problems in an effort to force people from their cars. The more inconvenient traffic becomes the more people will be induced to give up and just acquiesce to the BRT. This is the opposite of the stated purpose