Honolulu Government Goes Local for Some Transit Technology

Aug 14, 2020

Some local tech companies are landing big contracts with the City & County of Honolulu’s for transit work.

Hali‘a and Greg Hester formed Ulu Hi-Tech last year, specializing in program and IT management, field services, logistics and coordination. They were inspired to start the company and put their name up for consideration when they noticed that only a small number of Mainland companies had been putting in bids to implement the City & County of Honolulu’s new HOLO Card.

A 21st-century bus pass, the HOLO Card is intended to be a seamless way for people to pay to ride the rail TheBus, and the HandiVan.

Ulu Hi-Tech was just awarded that work in a five-year contract worth $22 million with a five-year option to renew. The Hesters aim to increase the city’s fare revenue by making it easier to buy rides on public transportation. Currently, for example, people can only buy bus passes with cash at a small number locations. They envision a system in which people can recharge the money on their HOLO Card online, at rail stations, in grocery stores and more.

Two other local tech companies were awarded subcontracts. HI Tech Hui will provide cybersecurity support and more while Poukihi, will provide account and reconciliation services and other financial services. The three are joined by California-based TransSIGHT, with experience in transit revenue collections.