Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Tourists age 65 can
buy senior bus passes

Question: Is it possible for tourists to purchase a monthly senior bus pass for $5 or for those of us who visit Hawaii three or four times a year to purchase an annual bus pass for $30, provided we have the proper proof of age and a Medicare card? Considering the high cost of airfare and hotels, and now higher bus fares, if we are not eligible to purchase a bus pass, perhaps another vacation destination would be more cost effective.

Answer: You don't have to change your vacation plans.

Tourists who are 65 and over have the same options as resident seniors, according to Carol Costa, director of the city Department of Customer Services.

The options are: Purchase an annual pass for $30, purchase an ID card ($10 for four years) and a monthly sticker ($5 a month) that is attached to the ID card, purchase an ID card ($10 for four years) and pay half fare in cash each time you board the bus, or use your Medicare card and pay half fare in cash each time you board the bus.

You'll have to find your way to TheBus Pass Office, 811 Middle St., to purchase the passes.

Q: Are towing companies allowed to set their own rates? Also, should or can the towing charges be posted on the towaway signs?

A: If a police officer cites your car for parking illegally in a public towaway zone, the company contracted by the city to tow your car must adhere to the fees set by the Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 290-11.

The fees also hold for cars towed off private property where there are signs warning that vehicles parked illegally will be removed.

The basic fee is $55 per tow ($65 if a dolly has to be used), plus $6.50 a mile towed and $15 a day for storage for the first seven days and $10 a day after that. The towing company can also charge an overtime fee of $15 if the tow takes place between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Monday-Thursday, or from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday. If the owner of a vehicle shows up while the vehicle is being hooked to a tow truck, the company can charge a $50 "unhooking" fee.

However, fees for "voluntary" tows, such as when your car breaks down and you call a tow company for help, are not set by law. The company can charge you what it wants.

As for what's printed on public towaway signs, "the charges have to be posted at the contractor's lot," but it's not practical to have them posted on each sign, said David Mau, assistant administrator for the city Division of Motor Vehicle & Licensing.

First off, there's not enough space on each sign, plus the rates are periodically changed. It would be a costly effort to redo the signs every time the rates are changed, Mau said.

And although towaway signs on private property have to indicate where vehicles will be towed to, that's not the case for towaway signs on public streets, he said.

In the latter case, motorists should call police to find out where their vehicles are towed to "because police are the only ones who can have (vehicles) removed from the no-parking area," he said.


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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