TheBoat sails into sunset


POSTED: Wednesday, July 01, 2009

TheBoat made its last run yesterday.

“;I'm a little sad that it's going away, because the people on the west side need alternatives,”; said TheBoat project manager Darin Mar.

About 200 people crowded the dock at Aloha Tower Marketplace yesterday afternoon hoping to catch one last ride to Kalaeloa. Makakilo resident Hannah Lima is one of many regular commuters upset to see the end of the ferry service. She rode TheBoat five days a week to work since It's start on Sept. 17, 2007. Before that, Lima drove to work.

“;It's upsetting,”; said Lima. “;I have to go back on the road, and there's a lot of traffic to deal with. For many of us, it was a means to get to work and come home from work without the traffic.”;

Others in line wanted a leisurely last ride.

“;I brought my granddaughter last year, and I wanted to ride TheBoat again with this being the first opportunity that I had,”; said Hawaii Kai resident Marie Burns, who took time off work to catch a last ride. “;I feel sad that it's going to be gone, but maybe someone will take it over.”;

Wayne Yoshioka, director of the city Department of Transportation Services, said the city had to cut TheBoat's service because of the “;economic challenging times.”; The City Council recently cut the TheBoat's annual $5 million subsidy.

“;Although we feel that TheBoat is a very important service and served a valuable function, the boats weren't running full,”; Yoshioka said, noting ridership remained at about 29 people daily, with each paying $2 each way, which included a free transfer for TheBus.

“;I have not ruled out a return of TheBoat in the future,”; said Mayor Mufi Hannemann in a prepared statement. “;Should an Ewa terminus become available, which would enable us to expand our market and cut commuting time in half, we'll be ready to act promptly to resume service.”;

Waiting at the dock, Mar said he would take the ferry's last service route to Kalaeloa.

“;I took the first boat to Aloha Tower when the service first began, so it feels almost fitting for me to take the last one back before it's gone,”; he said.