As the rail transit project inexorably rises on the West side, the work of the Honolulu Rate Commission has taken on new significance.
The commission, created in 2016 to review public transit fares and parking fees, has not yet proposed fares specifically for rail. But with the planned December 2020 opening of the East Kapolei-to-Aloha Stadium segment of the rail transit project, the options become more interesting.
Should rail and bus fares be the same? Should fares be discounted at peak travel times to discourage driving? Should fares be based on distance traveled? What percentage of operational costs should be covered by fares? Should the current fare structure with nine separate passenger categories and multiple rates be simplified? How much, if at all, should the fares go up?
Complicated questions, but we hope the commission answers them with two overriding priorities: Affordability and simplicity. A public transit system’s fares should be within reach of every Oahu resident, and easy to calculate.
At its Aug. 13 meeting, commissioners considered adopting just two rate categories: a single fare for most adults, and a discounted rate for others, including seniors, youth, and the disabled. They also considered a single fare structure for both rail and the bus. That’s a good start.
The commission wants to send its recommendations to the City Council by the end of the year. You can weigh in before it does. The next round of hearings is at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at Mission Memorial Hearing Room. Or you can email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.