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City Council Considering Handi-Van Fare Increase

Updated 4/21/21, 1:15 p.m.

A proposal to raise the fare for O?ahu’s paratransit service is moving forward at Honolulu Hale.

The City Council’s budget committee passed Bill 87 (2020) Wednesday with some modifications. It proposes raising the fare by 25 cents to $2.25 starting next year.

The city expects an additional $300,000 in revenue from the increase to help with a $58 million taxpayer subsidy to operate the Handi-Van.

Opponents argue it is not a good time to raise the fare because most Handi-Van riders are on a fixed income.

City rate commission member Barbra Armentrout said the body recommended the creation of an extremely low-income bracket for paratransit services.

"In all our meetings, we had marked down ELI category is meant to apply to HandiVan riders, and should be reflected in the fare rate structure. And we have nothing for ELI – for extremely low income," Armentrout said."

"Even though the fares have not increased, social security disabilities, retirement hardly increases. People live on $800 a month. Even a quarter is going to stop them from doing any other things like going to the library," she said.

Committee chair Calvin Say said he expects there will be more amendments to the bill once the city has guidance on how it can use funds from the latest federal relief package.

Say also asked Roger Morton, director of the city's department of transportation services, to work with the Council in proposing an extremely low income bracket for Handi-Van riders.

The Council passed Bill 89 (2020) earlier this year. That measure not only established the city's Holoholo public transit card, but also updated the fare structure for riders of TheBus and rail -- including an extremely low income bracket.

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