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Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced today that he will end TheBoat demonstration project after June 2009, but did not rule out a return to service.


TheBoat is a passenger ferry service operated by the City and County of Honolulu that runs between Kalaeloa Harbor and Aloha Tower during peak workday traffic periods.  Although intraisland passenger ferry service had been tested before, TheBoat was the first to seamlessly integrate ferry service with dedicated shuttle service from TheBus.


Mayor Hannemann said, “The City has gained invaluable hands-on experience with ferry operations for the next go-around.  We linked TheBoat and TheBus to demonstrate the effectiveness of a multimodal transportation system and offered a welcome commuting alternative for West Oahu residents tired of spending hours in rush-hour traffic.


“As I noted in my state-of-the-City address, I am a staunch supporter of multimodal transportation, which includes the bus, this ferry, and rail transit that breaks ground later this year.  However, given our fiscal condition, we needed to take a critical look at all expenditures, and I directed the Department of Transportation Services to complete an evaluation of the service.  That’s led to my decision to terminate the project and redirect the money to increasing the homeowners’ tax credit proposed in the Fiscal Year 2010 budget, as well as to offering additional bus service to accommodate those riding TheBoat.


“I have not ruled out a return of TheBoat in the future.  Should an Ewa terminus become available, which would open a new market and cut commuting time, we’ll be ready to act promptly to resume the service.”


TheBoat has carried about 110,000 passengers since its inception on September 2007, averaging about 270 riders per day.  Despite an early vessel reliability problem, TheBoat has enjoyed a 95-percent on-time and in-service performance.


Community response has been positive and those who ride TheBoat have reported in surveys that they like the service.  Despite its popularity among commuters, ridership on TheBoat hovered around 30 percent of capacity.  Increasing ridership hinged on obtaining a western terminus located in Ewa instead of at Kalaeloa Harbor.  An Ewa terminus would have provided a trip of 30 minutes to downtown Honolulu, half that of the Kalaeloa Harbor journey.  Additionally, an Ewa terminus would have opened TheBoat to a larger rider base.  However, due to security concerns, an Ewa dock at Pearl Harbor was ruled out and the future marina in OceanPointe will not be suitable for ferry operations.


TheBoat offered commuters amenities such as guaranteed seating, bathrooms, a snack bar, free wifi, and a chance to see marine life and spectacular scenery all for the price of a single bus fare.





Wayne Y. Yoshioka, Director of Transportation Services, 768-8303