Thursday, November 26, 2015         


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Bus driver has discretion in handling volatile conduct

By June Watanabe


Question: On Monday, March 18, I was riding the No. 2 bus in the direction of Kalihi Transit Center. At a stop in Chinatown, a couple got on. From the moment he boarded, the guy kept up a loud, steady stream of profanity. At times he was in her face so close they touched. At one point she was crying. He threatened her, saying he was going to f-ing shoot her, the guy she was supposedly sleeping with and himself. And the bus driver never lifted a finger. Never told him to take that garbage off the bus, never even told him to watch his language. The entire bus had to put up with that open sewer mouth for over 20 minutes. When he finally did get off the bus, he stood in the door for at least two minutes, berating the girl, then got off and pounded his fist against the glass when the bus took off. A lady asked the driver why he didn’t throw the guy off the bus and his answer was that he didn’t want to upset the guy and possibly get the girl hurt. What? Are you saying he didn’t have enough spine to call a supervisor and tell him to be waiting at the next stop with a police officer to have him removed? That bus driver needs to be reprimanded so if it does happen again, maybe he’ll act like someone with a spine.

Answer: Although calling for possible help would seem to have been a wise thing to do, Oahu Transit Services, which operates the city’s bus system, says the driver handled the situation as best as he could.

“We apologize to the passengers that had to witness this situation,” said OTS spokeswoman Michelle Kennedy.

She said OTS officials feel the driver in this case “used his discretion and was successful in avoiding injury to the female involved in the incident, to the passengers and to the bus operator himself.”

She said transportation managers spoke with the bus driver, who told them he felt that any intervention would have risked exacerbating the situation.

“Please be aware that when police are called in for assistance they require that the bus be stalled so that they can direct their officers to the designated location,” Kennedy said. “While the operator waits for assistance, the situation can escalate quickly.”

She said drivers are trained to follow general operating procedures, which state: “A Bus Operator should intervene in an altercation between passengers ONLY for the most compelling reasons and ONLY if the intervention will be beneficial. These types of situations are extreme and anything can happen, so there is no rule that can be applied consistently in such situations. Bus Operators must again use their good judgment and take the appropriate course of action.”

Question: The Star-Advertiser had an article about radio station 101.5 FM moving away from the smooth jazz genre. This was sad. What are the remaining smooth jazz stations, if any, in Honolulu? Is there a website where we can find all the radio stations in our town and their broadcasting format/programs?

Answer: The online Hawaii Radio & Television Guide — — is a good source for finding out what’s on the air, both on TV and radio, including stations featuring jazz.


To four strangers who responded when my husband fell on the concrete sidewalk on King Street, across from Straub Hospital, on Thursday, March 7. He suffered a gash on his eyelid, multiple contusions to his legs and an orbital fracture. These caring people, whose names we did not obtain due to the emergency, provided us with supplies to stop the profuse bleeding and stopped traffic to help us cross busy King Street to get to Straub. Because of them, we were able to get medical help quickly. We are ever so grateful for their compassion and quick response in helping a total stranger. We know that their good deed will someday be recognized. — Gilbert and Doris


Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email

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