STAR-BULLETIN / SEPTEMBER 2007
The mayor has announced adjustments to the city's commuter ferry schedule beginning Monday, hoping to boost ridership. TheBoat began as a yearlong pilot project in September from a $5 million federal grant.
TheBoat to get updated schedule
Mayor Mufi Hannemann has announced adjustments to the city's commuter ferry schedule beginning Monday, hoping to boost ridership.
TheBoat departing from Kalaeloa to Aloha Tower will leave at 5:30, 6:30 and 8 a.m. City transportation officials shifted the afternoon rides to leave earlier from Aloha Tower at 3:55, 5 and 6:15 p.m. Rides are about an hour long.
After months of surveying passengers and a group of potential riders they hope to reach -- especially Waikiki hotel employees and University of Hawaii-Manoa commuters -- city officials say this new schedule will accommodate more people.
"We believe this is consistent with what people wanted to see, and more importantly, this will increase ridership," Hannemann said yesterday at a blessing ceremony for the two vessels.
Ridership on the two ferries, the Rachel Marie and the Melissa Ann, plummeted in November to about 100 to 200 passengers a day because of engine troubles. For the last 10 weeks, ridership has gradually increased to an average of 290 a day on three round-trip rides after crews fixed the engine problems on the Rachel Marie. Each vessel can carry 149 passengers.
Hannemann has long pushed for the commuter ferry system, saying it would give residents more options when driving into town. TheBoat began as a yearlong pilot project in September from a $5 million federal grant. The city spent $1 million to create connecting bus shuttles to and from the piers.
Hannemann said he would like to extend the service beyond one year and has put $4 million in the city's fiscal 2009 budget pending City Council approval. City officials said they will also seek federal funding for a permanent service.
City officials decided to make the afternoon rides leave earlier so commuters getting off work would not have to kill time in town while waiting for the next departure.
The 4:20 p.m. was consistently the most popular ride on TheBoat with regulars on every day. City Transportation Director Wayne Yoshioka said they decided to push the departure earlier to 3:55 p.m. so those ending work at about 3:30 p.m. can use TheBoat.
Yoshioka added that shuttle buses connecting passengers to the 4:20 p.m. ride would often get stuck in traffic, delaying the ferry.
Generally, ridership on the 6:50 p.m. ride was among the lowest because it left too late. The last ride in the new schedule is 6:15 p.m., which Yoshioka said is much more appealing.
Commuter ferry's revised schedule
TheBoat will begin operating with new departure and arrival times starting Monday.
|Kalaeloa Pier departure
||Aloha Tower arrival
|Aloha Tower departure
||Kalaeloa Pier arrival