TheBoat could be good for Leeward visitors, too
my wife and I had a nice vacation recently at the Marriott at Ko Olina and visited the various locations around the resort and had a great time. We also went through the time-share presentation at the resort and listened in order to get our reward. A hidden reward was a statement by Chris, the salesman, when he mentioned TheBoat, the commuter ferry that runs between Kalaeloa and downtown Honolulu. That piqued our interest. Folks at the resort did not know much about it. They were not even sure where the docks were.
So, taking what sketchy information we had, we took our rental auto and went exploring. If there was an inexpensive way for us tourists could get to Waikiki without fighting the traffic (and contributing to it) on the H-1, why not? After a couple of misdirections, we finally found our way to the docks where we saw two nice catamarans tied up and being cleaned. There was no ferry parking, but since nothing was in the parking area, we parked and walked over.
A crew member on TheBoat to the left came out and talked a bit and gave us a schedule. Seniors get on for a single dollar, and that takes us to the Aloha Tower area where we could connect with TheBus. Unfortunately, there were no trips going at about 10 a.m. or returning from Aloha Tower at about 2:20 p.m., which would be about perfect for tourists. We have no idea how many locals take TheBoat to Aloha Tower to go to work.
We spoke to some folks at the Ko Olina resort, and there was not much information available. It was our thought that TheBoat would be a terrific attraction for tourists, get them (and their credit cards) to the Aloha Tower and to Waikiki, not load H-1 with additional rentals and keep TheBoat active rather than just sitting there.
Also, the Marriott resort has a shuttle van that takes guests to and from the various points in its complex (soon to be joined by Disney). So I wrote to the resort and gave them our suggestions with the thought that the shuttle could make a run from the resort to the dock and save their guests the hassles of parking their rentals somewhere in the general area and take the park-and-ride to the dock.
Marriot Ko Olina could easily have a small boat take its guests over to the dock (a short distance) where they could get on TheBoat. To me, as a tourist, that entire trip would be one of the highlights of my week's stay at Ko Olina. The shuttle bus would be free; the small boat would be free; TheBoat would be $1 for seniors and $2 for the regular adults.
Waikiki would benefit; Aloha Tower would benefit and even Hilo Hattie would benefit; TheBoat (and the city subsidy) would benefit; and, for sure, Marriott Ko Olina would benefit, as well as some of the residents, who would not have to drive in traffic to go to work. For sure, I would much rather take a slow (a bit less than one hour) ride on TheBoat and then use TheBus to get around.
To take this still further, if Marriott (and, in the future, Disney) had a charter bus to take their guests from the airport to the resort, it would save their guests the cost of renting an auto and paying for gasoline. The parking spaces at the resort are tight. Another "green" suggestion.
I'm sure that some additional thinking would bring forth all sorts of ideas for tourist services and, of course, additional income for the islands for the small amount of money that this would save the tourists.
Then again, my wife says I should just get horizontal in the sun and not even think of making or saving money and just enjoy our week. What do you think?
Fred "Sake" Sakurai lives in Banning, Calif.