Friday, December 07, 2007


Is the City of Honolulu competent to run a transportation system?

by Larry Geller

Bureaucratic decisions can cause more than inconvenience. They can cost lives.

A letter in today's Advertiser illustrates the rage of many Aina Haina residents to the slashing of their bus service without their knowledge or consent.

More important, in my view, is that although Hawaii sets records for pedestrian fatalities, the planned change will, as the letter writer describes, force more people to cross heavy traffic and risk their lives. The decision puts people directly in harm's way.


In his Nov. 26 letter on the change in 'Aina Haina bus service, J. Roger Morton accuses Lee Cataluna of misleading readers concerning our bus service. He asserts that slashing service to 'Aina Haina from three buses an hour to one is part of an "entire improvement plan." The number of Route 1 buses will also be reduced. Many riders will be forced to transfer and/or cross Kalaniana'ole Highway to make connections [Letters to the Editor - The Honolulu Advertiser]

I don't think people realize that these decisions can actually cost lives. Here's the end of Lee Cataluna's column of November 20, What's to like about bus plan?:

Many of the old folks there [gathered at a home on East Hind Drive] just listened and didn't say much, but their presence spoke volumes. Those thin legs, cloudy eyes and bent backs can't handle much more than a direct bus route. After Dec. 2, they'll either wait for somebody to drive them or sit at home.

Last week, the thing they fear the most came to pass: An elderly man who usually took the bus from his home in Wai'alae Iki to Chinatown about five days a week was struck by a car while crossing Kalaniana'ole. He died in the hospital.

Please read the entire column.

This will not be the last death. But who do we charge with murder if more people are killed as a result of this unwanted change in bus service? I'm very serious about this. There ought to be a way to challenge and reverse these decisions based on their very real human cost.

If people are killed as a result of this change, it's pretty much the same as though someone at The Bus put out a contract on their lives. No, that person didn't pull the trigger, but the responsibility is still theirs.

This decision needs to be reviewed and probably reversed.


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