HBL’s Executive Director, Chad Taniguchi, was recently featured in the Island Voices section of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
August 20, 2017
I wouldn’t commute daily by car on Oahu if you paid me $5,000 a year. I would lose money. Owning, insuring, fueling, parking, maintaining and repairing a car in Honolulu costs $11,325 per year, according to the June 2017 report from the American Public Transit Association (APTA). Honolulu is the seventh most expensive city in the U.S. in which to drive a car.
An annual bus pass costs $660 a year. Once you buy the pass, every additional trip costs less and less. At 30 trips per month, each trip costs $2. By comparison, each trip to and from Kailua in a car would cost more than $31.
I’ve calculated that the option of busing, walking and biking can save $4,000-$12,000 a year, depending on how much you rely on a car. Over a 35-year work life, that’s $140,000 to $420,000 for retirement or a house. But it’s not only about the money.
Choosing the best multimodal way to travel — walk, bike, bus, rail — actually saves time, gets you healthier, improves your social life, is kinder to Mother Earth, and is safer for everyone.
My bus ride from home in Kailua to downtown takes 30 to 45 minutes. Yes, longer than the 25 minutes by car. But guess what? It’s all quality personal time, to rest, read, check email, talk story with friends, make new acquaintances with regular riders, or dream. No fighting traffic or endangering others while illegally multitasking by phone.
Got kids? Some of my best memories are of taking my preschool kids downtown on the bus daily, reading a favorite book together. Bonding.
From downtown I ride my bicycle 30 minutes to work in Kaimuki (and back at day’s end). It takes longer than driving or riding the bus, but I love that daily bike ride. It keeps me physically healthy and mentally sharp. Who needs a gym?
People along the Leeward side of our island will be able to enjoy these same experiences on the train when riding to school and work in town. Save money, get healthy, save time overall, and be kind to Mother Earth.
We don’t need to wait for driverless cars for a solution. Collectively funded, collective mass transportation is the solution for many of us.
I’ve learned to rethink my trips and measure them by different standards. No longer is speed or getting there fastest the main goal. Health, environmental, community and family well being are more important. Now, I go to the airport by bus from Kailua. It may take me 90 minutes, but it would take someone in my family driving me 60 minutes round trip, plus 30 of mine, so it’s equal — and we didn’t burn any gas.
Convenient multimodal transportation means more choices and opportunities to save time and our planet, boost personal health and wealth, be safer, and improve life while getting around. For so many reasons, it’s the right thing to do and it’s fun!
I’m willing to contribute to that multimodal future and pay what it will take to finish rail because it will improve mine, and those of my grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Chad Taniguchi, a bus/bike commuter from Kailua, is executive director of the Hawaii Bicycling League.