The first two driverless cars for Honolulu’s $6.57 billion rail transit project arrived on Oahu today.
They’re the first of eighty cars slated to transport passengers on the island’s elevated rail system. There will be 20 trains, each with four cars. The trains can carry up to 800 passengers, or the equivalent of 20 local buses.
“These are the first driverless trains in the United States of America. They’re not arriving in New York, or Boston or San Francisco. They’re arriving here in Honolulu,” Mayor Kirk Caldwell said at a press conference today held in front of the trains after they were unloaded on Pier 1 at Honolulu Harbor.
Honolulu’s rail cars will also be the first in the nation with an “open gangway” design that will allow passengers to move freely between all four cars in the train, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Executive Director Dan Grabauskas said.
The rail cars were assembled at a Hitachi factory in Pittsburg, Calif. Each car costs $2.2 million.
Work is progressing on the 20-mile rail line from Kapolei to Ala Moana, but the project has also faced significant cost increases and budget delays.
Rail officials estimate the full system will open in 2022.