Honolulu’s TheBus Will be Faster than TheTrain?

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TheBUS - Photo by Emily Metcalf

BY CLIFF SLATER – The City & County of Honolulu’s TheBus is going to be faster than TheTrain?

Let’s review the City’s projected travel time by rail from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center:


The Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) tells us in the table to the left that future rail commuters leaving East Kapolei would arrive at Ala Moana Center in 42 minutes. This is not quite credible given that the Final EIS table to the left shows that Iwilei to Ala Moana Center supposedly takes only six minutes even though it must load and unload passengers at five stations along the way (FEIS, Table 3-16).

Further, the FEIS states, “the travel time, including access to station and waiting time for rail, between East Kapolei and Downtown Honolulu will be 55 minutes with the [rail] Project.” (FEIS, Table 3-1)

The 55 minutes travel time is a little more believable.

Now let’s review the current bus service from Kapolei proper, its Transit Center, to Ala Moana Center:

Today’s scheduled time for the Route C Country Express service of TheBus from Kapolei Transit Center to Ala Moana Center during the rush hour varies from 44 to 58 minutes and averages 52 minutes. This you can see for yourself on the TheBus transit timetables.

We also have discussed this with commuters who currently use this service and they find the service generally on time and reliable.

Bear in mind that Kapolei proper is further from town than East Kapolei and Ala Moana Center is further along the route than Downtown.

The FEIS also states that transit travel time from Kapolei to Downtown currently takes 86 minutes (FEIS, 1-9). Obviously, city planners are not coordinating their planning with TheBus administration.





  1. As it is now? Is this the comparative measure that will be used when that many more people will be aged, using canes and walkers, boarding the bus, putting The Bus at an even longer schedule between stops than it is at the current time? It is not so much the scheduled traveled time in the future, as it will be the load time of an aged population with mobility issues. Still shopping, visiting doctors after strokes and other medical issues, they will not be able to be rushed for boarding and on social security, they will not be able to afford the Handi-Van therefore will be riding The Bus and reducing route times because of increased load times. Has Roger Morton advised how he will handle the increase in the aged population and the increase in load timing in the future when cross sectioned with an elder communty of people with mobility disabilities boarding The Bus? Perhaps Rail will need to be the answer for professionals and students needing faster accessibility to town than The Bus will be able to off in an aged future with limited parking, increased costs for fuel and parking?

  2. If we match the need for Airline branding in Hawaii with the fearsome and phobic group that envisions the “aircraft carriers in the sky” rail terminals, Hawaii will have a win:win situation! We have not even discussed the unused portion underneath the concrete structures that would make for fine protection from the elements when it pays to have housing! I am sure the homeless will be mighty happy for that concrete ceiling and windbreak of huge pillars when the wind kicks up and the rain squalls come in winter. Who says we’re a people that do not care for our own!

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