Ferry should meet needs of commuters
Commuter ferry service between Kalaeloa and Aloha Tower is scheduled to begin Sept. 4.
A PAST attempt to provide ferry commuter service from Leeward Oahu to downtown failed because it was designed to accommodate the ferry operator instead of commuters. The system scheduled to begin after Labor Day
will need to satisfy the needs of passengers in order to succeed.
A key plus will be direct shuttle service by bus to Kalaeloa, the ferry's takeoff pier, from Maili, Nanakuli, Makakilo and Kapolei, and from Aloha Tower to Kalihi, Waikiki and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, with reverse shuttles scheduled in the afternoon to catch the ferry home. Past commuter ferries relied upon passengers to drive to Barbers Point Harbor and find their own way to their Honolulu workplaces.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann has said he hopes to provide wireless Internet access, allowing commuters to make productive -- or entertaining -- use of their time aboard the ferry. That could be crucial for commuters wanting to begin work before arriving at their downtown offices.
The mayor announced last week that morning trips would leave Kalaeloa every weekday morning at 5:30 a.m., 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., arriving at Aloha Tower an hour later. Past ferries have been clocked to make the journey at about 45 minutes. If they take an hour, commuters whose workday starts at the top or bottom the hour will be late for work.
Trips returning home will leave Aloha Tower at less critical times of 4, 5 and 6:30 p.m. Past ferries left earlier so they could be used for dinner cruises, making it impossible for commuters to work a full day and still catch the last ferry back to Kalaeloa. This time, operator Hornblower Marine Services has no such moonlighting obligation.
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