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Audit finds Handi-Van shortcomings may violate Americans with Disabilities Act

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    Handi-Vans parked in the Oahu Transit Service yard on Middle Street wait to go out.

A city auditor released a report today that found serious flaws with the Handi-Van paratransit system, despite the steps that transit officials have taken to improve the service.

The audit found that Oahu Transit Services, which runs TheBus as well as the Handi-Van, offered limited service in ways that violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Handi-Van audit said that the paratransit vans’ on-time arrival declined by five percent in the past three years, and that the system had a “significant” number of “excessive” trips last year that kept passengers on the vans for far too long.

The audit recommended raising Handi-Van’s $2 fare for a one-way trip — a price it said hasn’t been raised since 2001. Mike Formby, the city’s Department of Transportation Services Director, said the city doesn’t have plans to raise that fare and would have to discuss the idea with the City Council.

Formby added that the city agreed with the audit’s findings and that none of them were a surprise. Handi-Van is the “most-challenging operation within our transit system and we acknowledge the areas that need to be improved,” he said today.

The audit found that Oahu Transit Service isn’t fully using new real-time scheduling software in ways that could free up rides for more disabled passengers. It found that the city could do a better job overseeing the Handi-Van service.

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  • Formby agrees with the audit and was not surprised about it. In other words, he knew about the shortcomings but did nothing. Guess he is busy adding bike lanes and kissing up to his boss. Oh, and making excuses.

  • ADA is a real PITA. Every building in the state of Hawaii violates some aspect of the ADA. Some buildings take on hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovations just to comply, and often one inspectors interpretation is just that, an interpretation. If someone wants to just stick it to you they can send someone into your building and then file complaint after complaint until you pay up to comply lest you get fined. ADA has great intentions but the ambiguities abound and can really hurt people.

  • This audit is obviously biased. In my opinion, on-time arrivals are fine and occasionally there excessive trips but they are rare. The question of fares shouldn’t even be in your audit. Mike Formby is being slightly dishonest on fares. OTS which runs Handi-van for the City has been pushing for fare increases and the City doesn’t seem to mind. The problem is they want to double fares which will definitely it too expensive for the majority of riders and lead to ADA violations.

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