Saturday, August 04, 2007


Let's not be "railroaded" by the mayor--there are alternatives to The Train

by Larry Geller

Let's hear about transit alternatives for Honolulu

It seemed like a cool tropical breeze had arrived to blow away the hot, bad-smelling air that has settled around Honolulu's transit plans. Yesterday's Honolulu Advertiser's article, Hawaii transit hits another barrier, indicated that some city council members are still considering alternatives to a rail transit system that bypasses anyplace we (the people) would like it to go.

The mayor is clearly pushing for rail (see today's article, Rail transit is only way, says Honolulu mayor) even though his plan risks bankrupting us and our children who will end up paying for an unwanted system forever. There's no federal money to assist tearing the tracks down, of course.

The city council's choice of a Salt Lake route that bypasses the airport and wouldn't serve UH Manoa was discouraging (an understatement) to one who has enjoyed the convenience and economy of riding trains to and from airport elsewhere and who commuted for many years to high school and college by subway in New York.

The city council viewed a film Thursday on the Phileas Advanced Public Transport Systems proposal for high-tech buses. The system offers advantages over fixed rail that should be considered, and even the possibility of route change or replacement if it doesn't work out. With rail, we're stuck with the initial decision and the expense.

I would have liked to have seen the film. Perhaps we'll have that opportunity in the future. For now, Disappeared News brings you a YouTube promo for the Eindhoven installation of Phileas APT's system that should give some idea of what it might offer for Honolulu. It's chopped in three pieces and has some short foreign language segments, but if you bear with it you'll have some idea of what can be done as an alternative to Mufi's rail.

After the film are some links where you can get even more information about Bus Rapid Transit and the Phileas system in particular. And if you would like to weigh in on this yourself, some city council phone numbers and emails you can use to lend your support to seeking the best transit solutions for Honolulu.

Phileas bus rapid transit Eindhoven. Part 1

Phileas bus rapid transit Eindhoven. Part 2

Phileas bus rapid transit Eindhoven. Part 3


Info on Bus Rapid Transit systems from Wikipedia. Wikipedia has information on other types of transit systems as well--information you won't find in the daily papers.

Phileas Eindhoven project

Philea's website, unfortunately much too Flash-intensive, and some useful information

A better Phileas site

A Phileas FAQ

Contacts in case you want to encourage the city council to consider rail alternatives:

Give support to Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi on looking for alternatives at 547-7005 or email

Call Council Chairwoman Barbara Marshall at 547-7003 or email

Main numbers for Honolulu City Council: Phone: 547-7000 Fax: 523-4220

List of everybody on the City Council is here


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