Superferry to have 2 Maui trips daily
Maui mayor concerned about added ferry trip
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The Hawaii Superferry is adding a second trip to Maui instead of returning to Kauai, a move that caught Maui County officials by surprise.
Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares said she is "disappointed" in the decision and that the company did not consult with the Maui community.
Tavares noted that the ferry service remains a "contentious matter for many in our community."
Hawaii Superferry President John Garibaldi said the company needs more time to work with the Kauai community before resuming service there.
The company also announced that a promotional fare of $39 will be extended through June.
Meanwhile, state Auditor Marion Higa said the Lingle administration has not released many of the documents her office has requested for an audit on the decision to start the ferry service without an environmental study.
Higa said she will not be able to meet a March 2 deadline to complete the audit because the documents are still being reviewed by state attorneys.
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WAILUKU » The Hawaii Superferry is expanding its Oahu-Maui service from once to twice a day and putting off, for now, service to Kauai.
Company officials said they are still meeting with communities on Kauai to ensure a safe and successful resumption of operation.
Service to Kauai was halted in August because of protesters in Nawiliwili Harbor.
Hawaii Superferry President John Garibaldi said the firm's business model calls for running two round trips a day.
"Right now we've got to meet those needs," he said.
But Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares said she was surprised that Superferry officials did not meet with anyone on her island before adding a second Maui trip.
"I am very disappointed that Hawaii Superferry has made this decision without consulting county officials and members of our community," Tavares said.
"Since the Superferry first arrival less than a month ago, it continues to be a contentious matter for many in our community," the mayor said.
Garibaldi said the second sailing to Maui will benefit customers who want the convenience of having an afternoon voyage. "The second voyage also will greatly benefit our commercial customers, giving them more flexibility in reaching their markets," he added.
Maui Tomorrow Executive Director Irene Bowie said it will be difficult for spotters on the Superferry to see humpback whales at night.
Superferry official Terry O'Halloran said only the return portion of the Oahu-Maui trip takes place at night and that the preferred northern route is out of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
O'Halloran said in addition to the spotters, the first mate and captain will be looking out for whales, and the captain has a built-in night vision scope.
Bowie said the Superferry also has not done a study about the new schedule's impact on traffic.
She said the traffic issue was still being reviewed by Maui Circuit Judge Joel August and that a court hearing was scheduled in February.
Tavares said the county has not been told if the state Department of Transportation had complied with a court order to prepare a traffic impact study for the Superferry, including ways to limit its impact.
O'Halloran said there have been no problems with traffic when the Superferry disembarks passengers and vehicles at Kahului Harbor from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. during peak daytime hours.
He said the additional trip occurs at off-peak hours and will not cause a traffic problem.
The second Oahu-Maui trip will start Jan. 16 and run Sunday through Friday, leaving Oahu at 3:15 p.m. and arriving on the Valley Isle at 7 p.m.
The Superferry will depart Maui at 8 p.m. and arrive in Honolulu at 11 p.m.
The first daily voyage will continue its regular seven-days-per-week schedule, departing Honolulu at 6:30 a.m. and arriving in Kahului at 10:15 a.m., and departing Kahului at 11:15 a.m. and arriving in Honolulu at 2:15 p.m.
Superferry officials said the current promotional $39 one-way passenger fares and $55 one-way passenger vehicle fares have been extended for travel through June 5, provided tickets are purchased by March 31.