[ OUR OPINION ]
Simplify higher fares
to avoid TheBus cuts
AFTER flirting briefly with bus fare changes that would have upset regular riders, the City Council has been presented with a price schedule that would be affordable and simple. The proposal would eliminate small change while meeting needs to prevent layoffs and service cuts, not providing raises for drivers who already are paid enough. The Council should refine and approve the changes at the committee level on Monday.
The City Council is considering proposals to change bus fares to generate $6.8 million in revenue to prevent service cuts and layoffs.
Fares are now $1.75 for adults and 75 cents for youths, senior citizens and disabled riders. The Council early this week floated a proposal to decrease those rates to $1 for adults and 50 cents for youths ages 5-17, seniors and disabled, making them pay a single fare for each leg of their trips.
That plan would have increased prices from $30 to $40 for monthly passes for adults and from $13.50 to $20 for youths, and from $25 every two years to $5 a month -- a whopping total of $120 every two years -- for seniors and disabled. However, those passes would not work for express buses; a pass that includes express buses would cost $80 a month for adults, $60 for youths and $40 for seniors and disabled. That would be a burdensome increase for people who ride the express bus to get to work and now pay $30 a month.
The more sensible system, proposed Thursday by Council members Barbara Marshall and Donovan Dela Cruz, would increase fares to $2 for adults and $1 for youths, seniors and disabled, and monthly rates to $40 for adults and $20 for children. Seniors would have the option of buying a monthly pass for $5 or a yearly pass for $25.
The single fare increase is not likely to matter to most occasional riders. Bus drivers don't make change, so many riders already pay $2 for a single fare -- or $1 for youths, seniors and disabled -- forfeiting a quarter because they don't have proper change.
The Council should avoid requiring people to pay a single fare for each leg of a trip. Dela Cruz says people in his district sometimes transfer from one bus to another several times to get to a doctor's appointment or other destinations. "My opinion is that we need (free) transfers, especially when you live in the rural parts of Oahu," he says.
"People have to be able to afford to ride the bus," Dela Cruz says. "We can't make it so expensive where we're now hurting segments of the population who depend on this service." The complicated proposal of reductions and increases presented earlier in the week fails to recognize that reality.
BACK TO TOP
Original plan is best
for McCubbin, UH
HAMILTON McCubbin resigned his job as chief executive officer of the Kamehameha Schools four months ago, saying he wanted to spend more time with his children and grandchildren on the mainland. That prudent decision came on the heels of an investigation of allegations that the 61-year-old academician had been involved in an inappropriate relationship with a secretary. The University of Hawaii, where McCubbin now is applying to be vice chancellor for academic affairs, should encourage him to go forward with those family plans.
Former Kamehameha Schools officer Hamilton McCubbin is applying to be vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Hawaii.
McCubbin built a distinguished career as a sociologist in the military and as a professor and administrator at the universities of Minnesota and Wisconsin before being put in charge at Kamehameha. His abrupt resignation came several months after he signed a three-year extension of his contract and, he says, included a proviso that he and the school not talk about each other.
However, the resignation also came after several employees alleged that McCubbin was having an improper relationship with a female secretary at Kamehameha. It became known that he was accused of sexually harassing a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison while serving as dean of the School of Human Ecology. The professor received $85,000 to settle her complaint in 1999. McCubbin says the allegations were false and suggests that they emanated from his acceptance of a UW committee recommendation that the professor be denied tenure.
McCubbin may be constrained from commenting about the accusations at the Kamehameha campus, but he told an audience of UH faculty and staff, "If I was ethically and morally wrong, I wouldn't apply for this position. That I can assure you." He added that "what you read in the press is false."
Accusations about impropriety at two institutions have prompted a letter from UH professors Meda Chesney-Lind and Kalei Kanuha, Christine Quemuel of the Women's Center and former state legislator Annelle Amaral, now on the staff of Planned Parenthood. The letter questions whether McCubbin should be hired for a job that includes handling sexual harassment grievances.