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Firm hired to set up and run smart-card system for transit

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    TheBus, the future rail line and Handi-Van are all moving closer toward sharing a “smart card” fare pass that Oahu riders would use for all public transportation.

Oahu’s transit users will have to wait another year or so to learn what fares will be once rail service starts, officials say.

In the meantime TheBus, the future rail line and Handi-Van are all moving closer toward sharing a “smart card” fare pass that Oahu riders would use for all public transportation.

Earlier this week city and rail officials announced that they’ve awarded a $31 million contract to global ticketing firm INIT to set up and run a smart-card pass system for rail and TheBus. The company was selected from five applicants, and the city and HART will evenly split the contract amount, HART spokesman Bill Brennan said.

INIT will provide smart-card readers on TheBus, as well as ticket-vending machines and fare gates at rail stations, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation said Monday in a news release.

HART employees, along with staff from the city Department of Transportation Services and Oahu Transit Services, which manages TheBus and Handi-Van, have been researching since 2013 how to integrate bus, paratransit and rail so that those services work smoothly together.

Currently, riders of TheBus can either pay cash for individual rides or buy a monthly or annual pass.

Drawing from lessons learned in other cities, the joint working group from those transit agencies has recommended for Oahu a smart-card pass system that would allow bus and rail users to add money to an account with their smartphones, over the Internet, at ticket-vending machines, from a customer service representative or other means. That account balance would then be linked to users’ “registered” smart cards.

Riders could also buy unregistered cards (cards that aren’t tied to remote accounts) at ticket-vending machines, city offices and certain retail outlets, under the system envisioned by the transit working group.

The system outlined to HART board members in November would still let riders pay with cash. However, the details of exactly how riders of TheBus would pay cash in such a system are still being worked out, according to DTS Deputy Director Mark Garrity.

At rail stations, riders paying cash would get a smart card at the ticket-vending machine to pass through the fare gates, Garrity and HART fare collection manager Whitney Birch told the HART board in November.

The smart-card system would allow local transit officials to analyze Oahu’s ridership trends and to adjust service, better protect against fraud and set discount fares for certain groups and different fares at various stations, according to Birch and Garrity.

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    • Kirk has plenty of Oahu taxpayer money to spend $31 MILLION on some new smart card system when the train is not even close to being completed , yet he did not have $1 million in the City budget to help keep the Honolulu Zoo from losing its accreditation.

      • This is just another way the city will hose the Oahu taxpayers. The Bus currently charges $60 monthly for unlimited rides. Many bus routes are being cancelled and funneled to the rail. Thus no new money will come in from the current bus riders.

        Homeowners, get ready to bend over and take another hit from the rail. Property taxes are going to skyrocket AFTER the ridership projections fall short because the rail fare collections WILL NOT make up about 30% of the cost to run and maintain the rail operations. The Mayor will claim he has no choice and will make the Oahu homeowners pay for his mistakes (or lies).


          YES, PLEASE–“STOP THE RAIL”! At the very least–end THE RAIL at The “Kalihi Bus Transit Center” and expand THE BUS systems… The excess unspent Billions-of-Dollars can go to improve Infrastructure, Roads and Highways, and Drinking Water (which we are rapidly running out of). WAKE UP OAHU–STOP THE RAIL! Or, at the very least–put The Rail continuance issue on this next Election-BALLOT (and this time, an honest vote–not “do you want soft-rail or hard-rail (I’d like to shove the “hard-rail” up “Mufioso’s” back-side!).

        • you got it wrong, they are going to raise the excise tax and explain that in this way the tourist are going to foot part of the bill instead of just the residents. why not “hose” the tourist too!

  • Why would some stations charge higher prices? 20 miles and higher prices at some stations does not make sense to me or are they going to nickel and dime riders to death, then it makes cents !

  • Didn’t we learn from the Department of Taxation and Obamacare fiascoes with Canadian firm CGI? Now the City wants to hire German company INIT, which cannot even maintain a responsive website (try to navigate through its links, very slow.

    We have the best technology experts right here in the U.S., why not use them?

      • But HART cannot give an estimate of the cost for fare? HART must have some idea but not announcing because everyone will go into shock when the fare price is expensive.

        • The city can give an estimate but once they do, their rail scam will be fully exposed because then we’ll have a good idea of how much more money the city will be short to fund operations and maintenance.

          The city is currently saying that they expect rail fares to pay 30% of the operation and maintenance for rail. But as I said earlier, if bus riders are the majority of rail riders, no new money will be coming into the bus/rail operations. Thus even if rail collects some of the money, then the bus operations will be short or vice versa.

          Since taxpayers subsidize the bus and will also subsidize the rail, the shortfall will wind up being paid for most likely by property tax hikes.

        • The fare box “must” contribute 30% of the operating cost which is about $130M annually. Yep, once the fare price is announced, riders will be shocked and upset.

  • Rail is nowhere near close to operation and already we can see the passenger control process is out of date, Jurassic. “fare gates at rail stations” will do nothing but raise the cost of rail, increase the funding needed to cover the currently estimated $10 million a year and climbing O&M.

    City should have followed San Diego’s lead by not using Jurassic fare gates. You buy a ticket or use your smart card, you get on. Transit security will randomly either come on to check tickets or inspect when you exit.

    Efficient design like this is why the San Diego trolley has one of the highest recoup rates of all city rail systems at 57%. About twice the estimated 25-30% of Nei rail. Sad to say in the union controlled Nei, unions featherbed projects like rail to make up as many do nothing jobs as possible.

  • Honolulu will be a world class city with a faster and more convenient and efficient multi-modal rail/bus transportation system. Rail is for a better future for our children and grandchildren.

    • ukuleleblue says: “Honolulu will be a world class city with a faster and more convenient and efficient multi-modal rail/bus transportation system. Rail is for a better future for our children and grandchildren.”

      Yes, because the only thing keeping Honolulu from being a “world class city” is a slow seatless train screeching from a plugged in developer’s new development, past luxury condos for wealthy foreign nationals and stopping at a luxury tourist mall. If you actually lived here, you’d know about the terrible roads, property, property crime, children living in the streets, and politician corruption and not be writing such out-of-touch nonsense.

      And I’m sure our children and grandchildren will be just as grateful to us for rail as we are to our parents and grand parents for the Natatorium.

      • Ukuleleblue LIED and said: “” Rail is for a better future for our children and grandchildren.””

        Most of our children and grandchildren will not use the train regularly. They will only have to PAY FOR IT FOREVER.

        How does that make for a better future?

  • I hope they have a clause in the contract that the company does not get paid unless the system works. More money down the drain as our zoo also goes down the drain.

  • Us poor people that lived near the Daly City, CA, BART station never rode BART. Too expensive. We rode buses! BART loses tons of money per year; buses, not so much. The Golden Gate bridge toll fares cover BART loses. The new “Pearl Harbor toll tube” will cover HART loses. I love “the world’s richest third-world country”!

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