More and more people are turning to the Handi-Van to get around, and there’s been no shortage of complaints about the service.
“The Handi-Van users have been up in arms about the low service levels,” said Honolulu City Councilmember Breene Harimoto, Transportation Committee Chair. “They experience longer waits, some unreliable pick-ups. Just a lot of issues.”
But relief is on the way. There are 157 vans in the aging fleet and the city is purchasing 99 new vans, which will be delivered this year.
The Handi-Vans are used to serve thousands of riders across the island. With the increase in ridership, the vehicles go through tremendous wear and tear.
On average, the Handi-Vans make more than 3,000 trips each weekday.
“Just like your car, your automobile, as it gets older, it breaks down more frequently and when it is broken, it takes longer to fix,” Councilmember Harimoto said. “It gets to the point where you have to assess the break downs versus just replacing them.”
City transportation officials couldn’t talk to us on camera on Thursday, but tell KHON2 they haven’t bought any new vans to replace the aging fleet since 2011, because of three separate protests over the bidding process. Now with that resolved, the vans are on the way.
Each van costs about $97,000 and will replace vans that are about seven years old.
“I’m hoping that once we get the new fleet in service, we will see more reliable service, but I think time will tell,” Councilmember Harimoto said.
The first vans of the new fleet are expected to roll out sometime next month.
As for the current Handi-Vans, the city says they’ll be auctioned off or donated.