Published on Mar 5, 2012
Response to City Lies on Rail Transit
Lie 1: Speed: The city's official Alternatives Analysis shows that for the 19 miles from Kapolei to Downtown it's going to take 65 minutes by train, which is 20 miles per hour. On the other hand, buses on uncongested High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes will average 60 mph.
Lie 2: Capacity: The capacity of the projected rail line is maximum 10,000 riders per hour, compared to New Jersey's I-495 single bus lane carrying 32,600 passengers per hour. In the face of that, it is ridiculous to discuss a two-lane HOT lanes facility, giving priority to buses, not having the capacity of a rail line.
Lie 3: Reliability: The biggest problem with rail transit is strikes, which are a major headache for rail transit users in the mainland. When a rail car breaks down the entire system will cease functioning, perhaps for days, causing major inconvenience.
Lie 4: Safety: Gangs, graffiti and crime around train stations. It's a magnet for this kind of stuff. Safe? All rail systems have to have transit police and yet police are not even accounted for in the proposed costs.
Lie 5: Costs: Okino claims that the capital cost is less than the HOT lanes option is also absurd. It's really laughable to say that a simple, elevated highway built by the lowest bidder is going to cost more per mile than a non-bid, elevated rail line with trains, computers, transformer stations.
Lie 6: Costs again: The city has exaggerated the cost for HOT lanes to $2.6 BILLION. A comparable facility, the Tampa Expressway cost $400 million. When you've got a facility built for 400 million you cannot justify one for 7 times that amount in Honolulu.
Lie 7: Okino claims: No bus system can recover all its costs. Where do we start? Buenos Aires' 15,000 buses are privately-owned and profitable. Atlantic City's 190 13-passenger buses are privately owned and profitable. Not only are Hong Kong's buses profitable and so are those of the rest of China. Throughout Asia and South America profitable bus systems abound.
Lie 8: Less Pollution: When cars are traveling at uncongested speeds, the pollution emissions are far less than on congested freeways. Speed up the auto traffic and we will get far less pollution. Efficient express buses that circulate in communities then drive onto HOT Lanes would attract more riders than rail, further reducing automobile usage and congestion.
Lie 9: 250,000 riders: Currently, 7% of Oahu trips are by public transit. This would need to triple, a 300 percent increase, to 20% to reach 250,000 riders, which has never happened anywhere in the U.S. or Canada.
Lie 10: Hamayasu also claims that "the public transit use is actually a 30% increase since 1995." But the broad picture, according to U.S. Census data, shows that from 1990 to 2000 there was a decline in people using transit to commute.
Lie 11: Hamayasu: "We think the new (rail) riders is gonna be in the neighborhood of 30-40,000 riders." This claim is based on ridership forecast by the consulting firm, Parsons Brinkerhoff, whose previous forecast for Honolulu were wildly inaccurate, grossly overestimating increases in bus riders when in reality we have seen ridership decreases.
Lie 12: Energy? Hamayasu: "Rail is better in terms of the energy consumption." Well-managed HOT Lanes can have a lower "carbon footprint" generating less carbon dioxide, attracting more riders than rail.
Lie 13: Electricity: Hamayasu: "...the kind of a power plant that electricity (for rail) is generated, they too can get into better energy or alternative energy sources." All of Honolulu's electricity is generated by burning petroleum.
Lie 14: Okino claims Vancouver Skytrain is running a profit. However fare revenues for Skytrain cannot be calculated since one ticket allows transfers between trains and buses. Their financial report does not break out separate fare revenues for Skytrain. Total subsidies for Translink were $236.7 million in 2006.
Lie 15: Okino claims that in Vancouver "last year car usage decreased by 5 billion kilometers (because of Skytrain)." The number of automobiles there is actually increasing by 20,000 per year.
Lie 16: Okino: "Let's take Pittsburgh. They did both, an elevated busway and a light rail system. Their actual (busway) ridership today after seven years is 9,500 — one fifth of what they projected." The Federal Transit Administration's website shows that Pittsburgh's busways carry 52,000 riders per day — more than twice as much as carried by light rail.
Lie 18: Hamayasu also claims that there is a balance of spending for various transportation projects in the coming decades. But what kind of balance is this, spending nearly 200% more ($6 Billion) for a rail project that might carry at best 10% of our riders?
there are more lies -- watch the video
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