Kokua Line
June Watanabe

Monday, April 25, 2005

Cabs may not solicit
riders at bus stops

Question: Are taxi drivers allowed to stop at TheBus stops and solicit cab fares? I was at a bus stop once when a taxi driver stopped and tried to get two Japanese tourists to get into his cab. When they didn't, he cussed them out! Another time, by Diamond Head, a taxicab blocked traffic for several minutes while the driver tried to get several people in his car. I was stuck behind him.

Answer: Bus stops are not meant to be used by cabs or other vehicles, with the exception of certain tour vehicles.

The Honolulu traffic code prohibits all vehicles from parking, stopping or standing in an official bus stop, said Roger Morton, vice president of operations for Oahu Transit Services, which runs TheBus system.

However, tour vehicles with valid permits are allowed to use official bus stops outside of the Waikiki design district. Morton said his taxicab colleagues say this applies only to tour buses -- not to cabs.

The pertinent section of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu is Sec. 15-15.3(c) -- "No person shall stop, stand or park a bus used for charter or tour service in any officially designated bus stop unless such bus displays on the right front bumper a valid decal issued by the licensing division of the department of finance," -- and (e) -- "Nothing in this section shall permit the parking of any bus, other than a city transit bus, in an officially designated bus stop in the Waikiki district."

Meanwhile, according to the city's taxi control section, Morton said there is no specific prohibition against taxis soliciting business -- except that the "solicitation should never be done at a bus stop."

That said, the public can report all instances in which a taxi driver might have acted abusively or unprofessionally, he said.

The city will investigate all complaints of unruly or unprofessional taxi drivers.

Reports can be made to the city Complaint Office at 523-4381.

Complaints should include the time and date of the incident and the taxicab control number, which should be prominently posted on the front and rear bumpers of the cab and on the sign or dome light, Morton said.

Q: I hate to bother you with a minor item, but what was going on downtown last week that required dynamite? We kept hearing three warning whistles followed by an explosion followed by another whistle.

A: Hawaiian Electric Co. was using "low-volume explosives" to seal and weld piping in areas where the usual welding techniques couldn't be used.

The repair work was done at the Honolulu Power Plant last Tuesday-Thursday and earlier at the Waiau plant in Pearl City, said HECO spokesman Jose Dizon.

Each explosion was preceded by three air-horn blasts, followed by a single "all clear" blast.

No demolition work was involved. HECO said it is common to use such explosives in other locales, but this was the first time it had used them for this type of repair.


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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