Plans for airport rail station, new bus routes revealed

(Via Hawaii News Now)

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) unveiled plans for the rail station at Honolulu International Airport and also revealed plans for adding bus routes to Waikiki.

The train’s guideway will come in right behind the lei stands and the station will be across from the Japan Airlines counter. It’s right between international and overseas parking lots. The station will be over the airport personnel parking lot J. It will include people movers and covered walkways. Hart estimates 15,000 people will use this station every day.

“We wanted to make sure that people had multiple ways to get into the terminals as easily as possible,” said Dan Grabauskas, Hart CEO.

With 20,000 employees and more than 8 million visitors coming through Honolulu International it’s expected to be one of the busiest rail stations. Luggage will be allowed and the City says it plans to amend luggage rules for the bus system as well.

With the rail route ending short of Waikiki they still need to figure out how to get tourists the rest of the way to the hotels.

“We’re trying to figure this out. It’s all going to be addressed as this project is built. We don’t have every answer today before it’s even completed,” said Kirk Caldwell, Honolulu Mayor.

One of solutions is adding a bus route that circles through Waikiki and back to the last train stop at Ala Moana Shopping Center.

“The circulator route is a different route than the busses currently use in Waikiki. It’s a route that allows us to get the busses through Waikiki and back to the transit center in a shorter period of time. It’s meant to accommodate the service industry and the tourists,” said Michael Formby, Honolulu Transportation Services Director.

They also want residents to use the rail to get to the airport. With 4,000 park and ride stations along entire rail route they need to decide if cars can park overnight. Initially those lots were to be free, but that may change.

“They would rather have a nominal fee of a few dollars and have the facilities gated, lighted and have attendants there for safety and security purposes so if they did that, I guess not jumping the gun I envision there would be a daily rate of some kind,” said Grabauskas.

Airport station construction is scheduled to start 2015 and finish two years later.

The cost of the airport station is between $20-23 million, which Hart says is similar to other stations.

Overall Hart is behind on its construction timetable because of legal delays, however Grabauskas says he expects to be caught up in the next four months.

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