Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Safety inspection stations
control their sticker supply

Question: Auwe to whoever is in charge of state safety inspections. Deadlines to get a new sticker are at the end of the month, yet wherever I go, the stations have run out of stickers (not their fault). There may be good reasons and circumstances for not being able to get a safety check sooner. But if I get pulled over for an expired safety sticker, it's "my fault" for not being responsible, huh? No wonder some people obtain them illegally. Why don't they revamp this inane program or find someone who can?

Answer: The obvious solution is not to wait until the last minute to get an inspection because stations buy as many stickers as they think they'll need.

The state Department of Transportation purchases safety inspection stickers once a year, providing them to the counties, which then sell them to approved safety stations, said transportation spokeswoman Marilyn Kali. Each station can purchase as many of stickers as they need. If a station orders too few, it can purchase more and the counties, in turn, can purchase more from the state.

"To the best of our knowledge, the counties have not run out of stickers," Kali said.

David Mau, city assistant administrator for motor vehicles and licensing, pointed out that each station purchases a supply of safety stickers based on their previous needs.

"We don't dictate to them as to what kind of stock they should keep on hand," he said.

While they can always purchase more, if there's only one or two days left in the month, it may not be worth it for the stations to buy more stickers. "So they'll just wait to do the subsequent month's stickers," Mau said.

He allowed that he's waited until the last day of the month only to find out a station has run out of stickers. "But that's my problem for going late," he said.

As for illegal stickers, "We don't know anything about the stickers being obtained 'illegally,'" Kali said.

Mau said his office -- not police -- investigates complaints about stickers being issued to vehicles that haven't actually been inspected.

"It does occur," he said. "It's not a big, big problem compared to the number of vehicles we have on the road."

If you believe stickers are being issued illegally, call Mau at 532-7793, providing as much detail as possible, including names, times, dates, etc. "We keep a real tight rein on this program," he said.

Meanwhile, there have been calls in the past to do away with the vehicle safety inspection program.

However, none of the bills introduced to this effect have passed.

Q: Why are we being charged a $1 service fee for tickets purchased at the Blaisdell Concert Hall? I attend symphony concerts and usually purchase my tickets on the day of the concert, just before it starts. I can understand if I were purchasing the ticket through an outlet and being charged that extra dollar for their services and for the convenience of buying the ticket. But to be charged extra for purchasing the ticket right at the concert hall box office is a rip-off. Can you please explain?

A: The $1 service fee is "standard" across the country for tickets sold at a venue, according to John Fuhrmann, events and services manager for the city Department of Enterprise Services.

Of that, 75 cents goes into the city operations budget for the auditorium, and 25 cents goes into a special city budget for culture and the arts, he said.

It may be no consolation to you, but Fuhrmann said it still is cheaper to buy at the box office than via phones or at various outlets, where you are paying extra for "convenience."

Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered.
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