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Tuesday, October 24, 2000

Star-Bulletin file
Earlier ferry projects had runs from Barbers Point and
Middle Loch, Pearl Harbor.

Ewa Beach ferry
run extended
to Dec. 1

The WikiWiki Ferry from
Iroquois Point had been
scheduled to stop Oct. 31

By Rosemarie Bernardo

The WikiWiki Ferry demonstration project from Iroquois Point, which was supposed to end Oct. 31, will continue until Dec. 1.

Meanwhile, regular ferry riders say there's got to be a way to keep the project going.

"I think it's something that we need," said Ewa Beach resident Marivic Puaa, a claims administrative supervisor at First Insurance Co. of Hawaii Ltd.

There's only one main way to get on the H-1 freeway from Ewa Beach, she said.

"We need other alternate routes to get to town," said Puaa. "And this is one solution."

The Transportation Department wanted to give the Iroquois Point departure site a time frame of at least two months before the project was scheduled to end this month, said Dean Nakagawa of the Department of Transportation, who is also known as the "ferry godfather."

Star-Bulletin file
WikiWiki passengers disembark at Pier 9, Honolulu Harbor.

The ferry began departing from Iroquois Point on Sept. 11. Previous departure sites during the $3-million demonstration project which began last year were at Barbers Point and Middle Loch.

During the first three weeks of the demonstration, ridership rose from 20 riders to 72 riders in the morning run.

During the afternoon run, up to 98 people rode the ferry, said Nakagawa. Some were basically "joy riders" trying out the new facility, he said.

After a charge of $1.50 was administered, ridership declined to 50 riders for both runs.

"The biggest grunt we hear is that we're going to end," said Nakagawa.

Puaa said some regular ferry commuters are planning a meeting sometime next week to seek ways to continue the ferry service.

"They would like to see it on a permanent basis," said Nakagawa.

"It's comfortable, it's spacious," said Nanakuli resident Sue Block-McKenna. She parks her car at the park-and-ride facility at the Ewa Beach Shopping Center, catching the shuttle bus to the dock.

The Transportation Department received some complaints that the ferry's schedule is too late or too early, said Nakagawa.

If there are two ferries, that will be even better, Puaa said.

"It's a great form of commuting from Ewa," said Craig Tanaka, a regular ferry rider pleased with the 30-minute ride to downtown.

For those who drive, "It takes about 20 to 25 minutes just to get out of Ewa Beach," said Nakagawa.

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