Bus fares, vehicle weight tax, parking meters among increases approved by city council

Whether you take the bus or drive and need to look for street parking, get ready to pay more for all of it.

KHON2 spoke with several people who say everyday life in Hawaii is only getting harder.

The Honolulu City Council approved several proposals Wednesday that affect your bottom line, and those rate increases add up over time.

“I was grateful for the decisions made at the Honolulu City Council,” Mayor Kirk Caldwell said. “I think it ensures we continue to have a budget that is balanced that has some revenue enhancements, but we also did control cost.”

A city spokesman told KHON2 money from these rate increases will pay for the future operation and maintenance of rail. We’re also told the measures were introduced to show the state legislature that the city has plenty of “skin in the game.”

Parking rates in Waikiki, Chinatown, and Downtown are doubling from $1.50 to $3.00 an hour. (Bill 12)

If you ride the bus on a monthly pass, you’ll be paying $120 more a year. (Bill 28)

Vehicle weight tax is increasing by one cent in 2018 and again in 2019. Folks driving a standard-size SUV can expect a $35 increase each time. (Bill 10)

Reaction from bus riders is mixed.

“I think that’s quite a jump,” said Paulie Tuita. “For me, that’s quite a lot paying $60 and now going up to $70.”

Frank Hunter, another bus rider, said “it might take a couple more dollars out of my pocket, but like I said, it’s cheaper than driving.”

We’re told many in Chinatown feel the parking rate hikes will hurt business.

“People who shop in Chinatown for dollar groceries cannot afford that kind of high prices,” said Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock with the Chinatown Business and Community Association. “It’s going to have a trickle-down effect on a lot of people. This is a bad move.”

Others have mixed reactions.

“Why are they only picking on certain places? If they’re going to raise it, they should raise it all over,” said Rodney Lu, a regular Chinatown visitor.

“The rail is important. I don’t know the dollars and cents of it all, but I just hope it doesn’t discourage people from coming,” said Chinatown resident Ellen Kercher.

The bills are under review and awaiting a signature from Mayor Caldwell.

If they’re signed into law, the rate increases would take effect on January 1, 2018.

Another measure that passed had to do with admission to Honolulu Zoo. Children under two get in free. For Hawaii residents, the cost rises to $4 for kids ages 3-12, and $8 for those 13 and older.

Bill 68 authorizes the director of Enterprise Services to set admission fees for the military, non-residents, and group rates.

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