Honolulu to Receive Nearly $6 Million to Improve Public Transit System With New Zero-Emission Buses

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D- Hawai‘i) announced that the City and County of Honolulu is set to receive $5,940,005 in new federal funding to acquire six zero-emission buses and necessary on-road charging facilities. These new buses will run 24 hours daily on Route 40 between Makaha and Downtown Honolulu, helping people get to work and visit local businesses.

“Improving our public transit system with electric buses means that we can provide affordable transportation while reducing our carbon footprint,” said Sen. Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This new federal funding will make it easier for workers to commute and customers to visit local businesses while making our roads cleaner and quieter in the process.”

“Honolulu’s public transportation is one of the best in the nation, with some of the most professional and dedicated drivers for both TheBus and TheHandi-Van. Even under the most difficult of circumstances our drivers drive with aloha, and always show aloha to their riders. This federal grant will help build Honolulu’s public transportation toward a greener, brighter and safer operations fleet; moving the people of Honolulu to where they need to be,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

These funds will be used by the City and County of Honolulu Department of Transportation Services to purchase or lease six 40-foot electric buses and support facilities at the Alapa‘i Transit Center. This is the first phase of Honolulu’s plan to make Route 40 entirely electric and transition to a zero-emission fleet within the next 15 years, which will ensure that workers have a greener, more affordable commute.

Honolulu received this grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission program following an intensive application process, with the city competing against other municipalities and localities across the country.

Hawaii Drivers are Nation’s Leading ‘Lead-Foots’ During Pandemic

QuoteWizard, a LendingTree company, and one of the nation’s leading online insurance marketplaces released a report analyzing which states have the speediest and most accident-prone drivers to see where roads could be most dangerous during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. 

Fewer drivers on the road traveling less miles are leading to a drastic drop in car accidents. However, evidence suggests roads are becoming more deadly during the COVID-19 with an increase of 14% in fatalities per mile driven. 

Visit the full report here.

Key Findings: 

  • Hawaii, South Carolina and Delaware are considered to be the most lead-footed drivers in the country.
  • The National Safety Council found that vehicle fatalities per mile driven increased by 14% compared to March 2019. 
  • Consumer Federation of America estimates a 50% drop in insurance claims during stay-at-home orders. 
  • Open roads are leading to an over 50% increase in highway speeding, making roads more lethal during stay-at-home orders. 
  • QuoteWizard data shows Maine, California and South Carolina are the most accident-prone drivers in the country. 

Methodology

To determine the states with the most dangerous roads, we analyzed driver history from insurance quote data to see which states are the most accident-prone and which states are most lead-footed. Rankings determine the top 25 states with the highest rates of car accidents (accident-prone) and highest rates of speeding tickets (lead-footed).

Act With Care Update on Driver’s License, State ID

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is working with the Governor’s Office to provide a blanket extension for all driver’s licenses, State identification cards and instruction permits to the end of September to reduce the need for people to gather at driver’s licensing centers. This extension will be added to a future supplementary proclamation.

“Thanks to the actions of the majority of our residents, Hawai‘i is one of the best-performing states in the country in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor David Ige. “We remain grateful and cautious as we move towards recovery. Providing an additional extension of credentials will allow our county DMVs to address the backlog that developed over this emergency period while keeping our public servants and community members safe.”

For the status of your county’s driver’s licensing services, please visit their websites or call. Contact information for the counties follows:

As an added note, expired driver’s licenses or State IDs that expired on or after March 1, 2020, can be used at TSA checkpoints for up to one year after the card’s expiration. According to the TSA: “If your driver’s license or state-issued ID expired on or after March 1, 2020, and you are unable to renew at your state driver’s license agency, you may still use it as acceptable identification at the checkpoint. TSA will accept expired driver’s licenses or state-issued ID a year after expiration.” (See https://www.tsa.gov/coronavirus, accessed on May 27, 2020).

HDOT thanks Hawai‘i residents and its county partners for continuing to act with care as we recover from the COVID-19 emergency together.

Volcano Road Temporary Signal Installation at Kipimana Street

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) notifies Hawaii Island motorists of single lane closures on Volcano Road at its intersection with Kipimana Street beginning Tuesday, May 26 for the Kipimana Traffic Signal Installation Project.

Working hours for the project will be 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday – Friday. The scope of the work includes restriping, signage, and installation of traffic signals. Motorists are advised that the speed limit will be reduced to 35 mph at the project location. Please use caution and plan for longer driving times when traveling through the area.

HDOT would like to thank the public for its patience and support for safety and infrastructure improvements of our state roadways. The Kipimana Traffic Signal Installation Project is scheduled to be completed in September, weather permitting.

Closures for the project will appear on HDOT’s weekly roadwork list. The list is updated every Friday and can be found at https://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/roadwork/

Mass Transit Agency Extends Shared Ride Taxi Coupons Expiration to June 30

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our Shared Ride users are unable to use their Shared Ride Taxi Coupons within the timeframe allowed. For the convenience of our users, the Hawai‘i County Mass Transit Agency is extending the expiration date from April 30, 2020 and May 31, 2020 to June 30, 2020.

Please do not alter the expiration dates on the coupons as they will not be accepted.

The Mass Transit Agency has notified the participating taxi companies of this extension.

For further information, please call Mass Transit at 961-8744.

New Mandatory Travel Declaration Form

The DOT Airports Division is using a new travel declaration form for all arriving domestic and international passengers and all departing interisland passengers in Hawai‘i. The revisions include the addition of departure information, the purpose of travel and how the person made the reservation. Every adult traveler is required to complete the form in its entirety.

The new mandatory travel declaration form is being used instead of the Department of Agriculture declaration form for passenger tracking. Both forms are mandatory and will be provided to passengers on trans-Pacific domestic and international flights by the flight crews. The agriculture form will be collected prior to landing by the flight crew, as it was before the travel quarantine began. The travel declaration form will be collected and verified by an airport representative after the passenger exits the plane.

Government Considering Opening Up Interisland Travel

Hawai‘i is now in the “Act with Care,” phase two of the overall, “Beyond Recovery,” reopening strategy for the state.

Governor Ige announced at an afternoon news briefing that he has been working closely with the counties on opening up businesses and activities, and lifting the 14-day quarantine for interisland travel is top-of-mind for many people.

Governor Ige said, “Health measures are pointing in the right direction to make this move…with infection levels appearing to be under control across the state.”

He explained this is important to avoid a high level of cases in one county from impacting another county as people begin to travel. Key issues under discussion with the counties and airlines include, screening, testing, contact tracing and physical distancing.

The governor concluded, “We are also going through the process of identifying other potential issues and welcome any thoughts or suggestions.”

Governor Ige said when the interisland travel quarantine is lifted there will likely be additional COVID-19 cases, and we have the capacity to handle it. If a new surge occurs, some restrictions might need to be reinstated. He encouraged everyone to continue engaging in best practies like maintaining social distancing, washing hands, wearing masks, avoiding large gatherings and staying home when sick.

Healthcare Capacity in Good Shape for Resumption of Interisland Travel

Governor Ige commended Lt. Governor Josh Green for his role in establishing a free clinic in Kalihi to help those who’ve been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the news briefing Green reported Hawai‘i has had 68 new coronavirus cases in the past month (since April 21) and 21 cases in the past two weeks.

He said the state’s hospital system is in great shape, with 39% of intensive care unit beds occupied, 51% of total hospital beds in use, and only 9% of the available ventilators in use. He also indicated that the supply of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers is adequate, but a team he is leading is continually monitoring and ordering additional PPE as needed.

Additionally the team is working to build up inventory in the event of a “worst case scenario”… a major outbreak in the state.

He says from a medical standpoint, we need to continue to rely on public health officials to provide guidance on when it’s safe to lift quarantines. From a compassion standpoint he talked about several recent incidents in which family members needed to fly between islands for sick or dying relatives.

Health Considerations for Travel Between Islands

DOH Director, Dr. Bruce Anderson revealed conditions that will be necessary for lifting interisland travel restrictions. He said the health department is actively working with a variety of partners like the departments of transportation and attorney general on requirements aimed at minimizing risks.

  • Disease incidence remains low and capacity to investigate and quickly respond to new cases
  • Accurate and complete passenger declaration forms are submitted
  • Passengers subject to mandatory quarantine are identified and final destination confirmed
  • Departure thermal screening
  • Passengers with elevated temperatures are not allowed to board, evaluated, and offered testing if appropriate

Anderson added that it is critically important to maintain the 14-day quarantine for mainland visitors. He said once the procedures are finalized and implemented, lifting the 14-day quarantine for interisland travel will provide a good test to determine the risks and concerns with opening up travel from domestic and international destinations.

Department of Transportation:

More on Lifting the Interisland Quarantine

DOT is proactively researching thermal temperature scanning equipment, after the legislature helped secure funds to cover some of the costs. He reiterated some of the conditions that will be necessary for reopening of interisland travel: temperature checks and new specific interisland travel forms. He said additional discussions are ongoing to identify other potential issues. Sakahara also thanked members of the Hawai‘i National Guard for their help in taking the temperatures of all airport passengers.

Hawai‘i island has three (3) new cases of COVID-19 and Maui has one (1) new coronavirus case. Three of the most recently reported cases are adults and one is a minor. Three are Hawai‘i residents and one is a non-resident.

Project to Upgrade Electric Equipment in Area of HVNP.

Hawaiian Electric will soon start a 6-month project to upgrade transmission poles and equipment in the area of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Work will be done in phases starting April 1, 2020.

Crews will replace 189 utility poles and install new equipment along Hawaii Belt Road, or Highway 11, between miles markers 30 and 40. One lane will be closed from 7 a.m to 5 p.m. weekdays.

“During this challenging time, we know the community is counting on us to keep the lights on. Continuing to provide safe and reliable power is our priority,” said Kristen Okinaka, spokeswoman for Hawaiian Electric’s operations on Hawaii Island. “Our crews and contractors will practice social distancing on the job and there should be no interaction with the public. It’s part of the critical work that continues, especially in advance of hurricane season, including tree trimming, replacement of equipment, and system resilience work that is difficult to reschedule.”

Once the line construction is completed, the replaced poles will be removed via helicopter. Work is expected to be done by Sept. 30, 2020, weather permitting.

For questions or concerns, call 969-6666.

Horns & Whistles to Blast for Maritime Day

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) advises the public of National Maritime Day activities planned for Monday, May 18 through Friday, May 22. National Maritime Day commemorates the first successful crossing of the Atlantic Ocean with steam propulsion on May 22, 1819. National Maritime Day also serves as a reminder of the importance of harbors and the maritime industry, especially for the State of Hawaii.

In consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the hard work of shippers, stevedores, and other essential harbors workers in maintaining our vital supply chains, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) is encouraging all those in maritime to sound off every day at noon between May 18 – 22.

HDOT Harbors Division is providing this notice to the public so that no one is alarmed by the anticipated sounds of horns and whistles at Hawaii Ports. HDOT also encourages Hawaii residents to thank those they know working in the maritime industry for continuing the flow of essential supplies during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

More information on National Maritime Day can be found at:

https://www.maritime.dot.gov/education/national-maritime-day/national-maritime-day

https://www.aapa-ports.org/advocating/content.aspx?ItemNumber=22582&RDtoken=26880&userID=7882

Report Lays Roadmap for Hawaii’s Autonomous Vehicle Future

In a time of rapid change and adaptation within transportation, Ulupono Initiative in association with Me3 today released a new report, titled “Framework for Hawaii’s AV Future: Accessible, Automated, Connected, Electric, and Shared,” outlining strategies that would help Hawaii chart its own autonomous vehicle (AV) and mobility future clearly.

“Autonomous vehicles can be a threat or a part of the solution,” according the report’s author, Kelley Coyner, founder and CEO of Mobiltye3 (Me3). “Whether Hawaii is ready, automated vehicles and other disruptive technologies continue to proliferate. COVID-19 has highlighted opportunities to strengthen vital supply chains with automated and electric mobility from trucks to shuttles to e-cargo bikes. The chance is now to create an accessible, automated, connected, electric, and shared (A2CES) mobility future that promotes equity, the environment, and economic opportunity for all in Hawaii.”

Beginning in fall 2018, Ulupono Initiative collaborated with local and state government agencies to bring stakeholders together to lay the groundwork for accelerating development and deployment of AVs to maximize associated benefits to the people of the state. Me3 helped to articulate an A2CES vision of mobility and recommend a framework of private- and public-sector collaboration. According to Coyner, this framework provides an actionable roadmap to achieve economic sufficiency for Hawaii, reach renewable energy goals, and give those who cannot drive more autonomy through mobility. 

“Few other communities are as immediately impacted by the shifting balance of global climate and the urgent necessity to identify and implement sustainable solutions,” said Murray Clay, president of Ulupono Initiative. “Ground transportation represents a tremendous opportunity because we import about a third more gallons of fossil fuels for ground transportation as for electricity production. Legal, safety, policy, infrastructure, planning and mobility innovation issues will all have to be addressed across broad and varied disciplines to improve equitable access to opportunities, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and realize economic opportunities.” 

The A2CES report acknowledges that Hawaii is in some ways already a leader in autonomous transportation. For example, Gov. David Ige’s signing of Executive Order 17-07 (Autonomous Vehicle Testing) made Hawaii the first state to identify its airport for deployment of autonomous shuttles. In addition, Honolulu is moving closer to opening the first stage of its automated rail transit system, joining Vancouver and Copenhagen with an automated elevated metro that will be the first fully driverless system in the United States. 

However, the report describes “disruptive technologies” as having “turned upside down the regulatory paradigm” and purports that the effect of Hawaii’s accomplishments is lessened due to a lack of clarity over the conditions for deploying these vehicles on public roadways.

The report proposes five key strategies for Hawaii to shape its A2CES future:

  • Confirm the legal framework for safe operation of AVs on public roads including developing guidance or regulations. 
  • Adopt policies and initiatives at the state and local levels designed to ensure the public’s interest in equitable and environmentally sound travel that is powered by renewable energy and promotes economic vitality. 
  • Bake A2CES readiness, including electric charging from renewable resources, into public and private sector investments including rail stations, rail catchment areas, station access, and roadway and multimodal pathways. 
  • Incorporate AV and electric vehicle considerations into all aspects of planning, public and private, so that the vision of A2CES is recognized and realized through land use, economic development, and transportation planning. 
  • Launch a program of A2CES-focused technology demonstration projects across modes, while prioritizing projects that expand renewable resources. 

Power Outage Test Scheduled at Honolulu Airport

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) and Hawaiian Electric have scheduled a power outage to test the Emergency Power Facility (EPF) at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL). The planned events are scheduled for the following dates and times:

  • 11:30 p.m. Saturday, May 9, to 4 a.m. Sunday, May 10
  • 11:30 p.m. Saturday, May 16, 4 a.m. Sunday, May 17 (if necessary)

During the outage there will be no power to Terminals 1 and 2, and all parking structures. Facilities located on the Ewa Service Road will also be impacted.

The roads and H-1 Freeway offramps leading to HNL will be closed to the public throughout the outage period.

The outage will occur when no flights are scheduled to arrive or depart, however the power to the airfield will remain on and unchanged during the test. The south ramp and facilities on Lagoon Drive, Elliott Street and Aolele Street will not be impacted by the power outage.

“It is an ideal time to complete this test since there are fewer flights and passengers at the airport as a result of COVID-19,” said Deputy Director Ross Higashi, Hawaii Department of Transportation Airports Division. “HDOT employees continue to work on maintenance projects and efforts like this test during the pandemic.”

“We’re working closely with the state to test its backup generating equipment should an unplanned outage occur at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport,” said Ron Cox, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of operations. “Current travel restrictions make it an ideal time to test the system with minimal impact to airport operations, and we’re happy to support the state’s efforts.”

Businesses located in the airport have been notified to plan accordingly and to unplug electronics and equipment prior to event to prevent possible damage.

DOT: Low Risk Safety Checks Can Resume May 15

In consideration of Governor Ige allowing the reopening of low risk businesses that take necessary precautions, the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) is coordinating the reopening of stations for Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspections (PMVI or Safety Checks) starting Friday, May 15.

The safety check waiver announced on April 30 will not be changed to allow PMVI stations, Counties, and the public enough time to conduct and process safety checks. The waiver announced previously was:

Safety check certificates and stickers expiring on or before May 31, 2020, will remain valid until August 31, 2020. All other safety checks that expire in 2020 will be valid for an additional 3 months after the 2020 expiration date.

The safety check extension does not impact the validity of the motor vehicle registration. The motor vehicle registration must still be unexpired to be valid. County motor vehicle registration offices are accepting renewals through a variety of methods, including mail, kiosk (where available), and online.

The County of Kaua‘i has announced the reopening of its Department of Motor Vehicles by appointment beginning May 18 (link to their announcement here).

PMVI stations are required to follow the guidelines outlined below:

Open with health and safety precautions for employees and customers, including physical distancing of 6-feet or greater, enhanced sanitation measures and appropriate PPEFacilities should frequently conduct thorough and detailed cleaning and disinfecting with focus on high-touch areas (e.g., door handles)Customers should be accepted by appointment onlyPMVI stations should limit the number of employees in the facility at one time to allow for safe physical distancing practicesTrain all employees on the importance of frequent handwashing with soap and water, the use of hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol content, and give them clear instruction to avoid touching hands to faceEmployees should be given frequent opportunities to wash their handsEmployees who develop symptoms of COVID-19 at work should be dismissed as soon as possible to self-isolate at home or seek medical attention as appropriateAnyone visibly displaying symptoms of COVID-19 should not be allowed in the facility
Mitigation Resources:  OSHACDCCDC-Cleaning & Disinfecting FacilitiesCDC Small Business guidance

As we all work together on COVID-19 recovery, HDOT thanks our partners and the public for their cooperation and patience.

Cruise Ship Returns to Honolulu for Fuel & Provisions

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) reports that the Pacific Princess cruise ship arrived at Honolulu Harbor on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 7 a.m. and will depart at approximately 2 p.m. There are no passengers on the ship and no crew members will disembark in Honolulu.

Pacific Princess cruise ship

The ship stopped in Honolulu on April 13 to allow four Oahu residents to return home and complete their quarantines. Since then the ship made stops in Los Angeles and Ensenada, Mexico. The ship is returning to Honolulu for fuel and provisions en route to the Philippines where it will repatriate its crew.

There are no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 associated with this ship. The ship’s leadership reports there are no health concerns, influenza like illness or respiratory issues with anyone on the ship.

Cruise lines worldwide have extended their suspension of operations due to COVID-19. For a list of cruise cancelations and anticipated sail dates please click here.

Big Island Lane Closures May 1st – 3rd

The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation is reporting the following weekend closures for May 1-3.

— HAWAII BELT ROAD (ROUTE 19) —

1) NORTH HILO

Closure of single lane at a time on Hawaii Belt Road (Route 19) in both directions between mile markers 14 and 16, between Old Mamalahoa Highway and Leopolino Road, on Saturday, May 2, through Friday, May 8, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., for landscaping work. Traffic flow in both directions will be maintained through alternating traffic control (contraflow).

— KEAAU-PAHOA ROAD (ROUTE 130) —

1) PAHOA – (24-Hour Work)

Lane shift on Keaau-Pahoa Road (Route 130) in the northbound direction between Ilima Street and Ainaloa Boulevard, on Saturday, May 2, through Friday, May 8, over a 24-hour period, for construction of the Ainaloa Roundabout.

— MAMALAHOA HIGHWAY (ROUTE 11) —

1) KONA

Closure of single lane at a time on Mamalahoa Highway (Route 11) in both directions between mile markers 113 and 122, on Saturday, May 2, through Friday, May 8, from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., for landscaping work. Traffic flow in both directions will be maintained through alternating traffic control (contraflow).

2) KONA

Closure of single lane at a time on Mamalahoa Highway (Route 11) in both directions between mile markers 101 and 106, Ke Ala Nui O Aoi and Mamalahoa Highway, on Saturday, May 2, through Friday, May 8, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., for landscaping work. Traffic flow in both directions will be maintained through alternating traffic control (contraflow).

3) HILO

Lane closure on Mamalahoa Highway (Route 11) between mile markers 4 and 8, Lama Street and Keeau 9 1/2 mile camp, in the vicinity of Hilo on Saturday, May 2, through Friday, May 8, from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., for landscaping maintenance.

4) KAU

Closure of single lane at a time on Mamalahoa Highway (Route 11) in both directions in between mile markers 39 and 45, on Saturday, May 2, through Friday, May 8, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for landscape maintenance. Traffic flow in both directions will be maintained through alternating traffic control (contraflow).

— HONOKAA-WAIPIO ROAD (ROUTE 240) —

1) HONOKAA

Closure of single lane at a time on Honokaa-Waipio Road (Route 240) in both directions between mile markers 4 and 9, Mauka Cane Haul Road and Mud Lane, on Saturday, May 2 through Friday, May 8, from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., for landscaping work.

— KOHALA MOUNTAIN ROAD/HAWI ROAD (ROUTE 250) —

1) KOHALA

Closure of a single lane at a time on Kohala Mountain Road (Route 250) in both directions between mile markers 14 and 19, on Saturday, May 2, through Friday, May 8, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., for landscape maintenance. Traffic flow in both directions will be maintained through alternating traffic control (contraflow).

PLEASE NOTE: Lane closure schedules may change at any time without further notice.

All projects are weather permitting.

Improved Verification Process Implemented for Airline Passengers

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) has implemented improved measures to verify incoming passenger information before they leave the airport to help ensure people are abiding by the traveler quarantine order. The enhanced process is underway at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) and will begin statewide in the coming days.

Hawaii was the first state in the country to implement a traveler self-quarantine order and the process is evolving and improving every day. The 14 day traveler self-quarantine process encompasses several different agencies which are coordinating with each other, with Kenneth Hara, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) Director, serving as the overall operations lead.

Arriving passengers on trans-Pacific flights will continue to fill out the State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture declaration form. After landing they will have their temperature taken. Anyone with a high temperature will receive a medical assessment by paramedics stationed at the airport.

Passengers who do not have a fever will continue through the process. An airport representative will review the declaration form to make sure it is complete.

The passenger will move to the order for self-quarantine station. The person will also initial and sign the mandatory order for self-quarantine form confirming they are aware they must self-quarantine for 14 days. By signing the legal document, they acknowledge they understand violating the order is a criminal offense and they are subject to a $5,000 fine and/or a year imprisonment.

An airport representative will collect the two forms and begin verifying their information. First, they will call their mobile phone number to confirm it rings right in front of them. If it does not ring, the person may have listed inaccurate information and is asked to verify the number. If the person refuses to provide a phone number that can be answered on the spot, law enforcement is contacted and they are subject to citation and arrest.

After the phone number is verified, an airport representative will then check the address listed for lodging. For returning Hawaii residents, the address should match their government issued ID. For visitors, the airport representative will call their hotel to confirm they have a reservation. Processing personnel have phone numbers for every hotel in the state.

If the visitor is not staying at a hotel, the address they list will be checked on the county’s tax map key (TMK) to verify it is a legitimate residence. The number for the place of lodging will also be called to check if they are staying with someone at the address.

All information will also be provided to counties to check if the address is a vacation rental. This is a warning to all vacation rentals in the state to stop accepting visitor reservations. The government will have their address and they will be subject to enforcement for operating illegally. A list of suspected illegal short-term rental sites will be provided to the appropriate county.

Once all the information is confirmed and the order is signed the person is allowed to leave.

“I myself was one of the people verifying the passenger information yesterday. The process is slower, but it is effective,” said Director Jade Butay, Hawaii Department of Transportation. “People must understand this is not the time to be vacationing in Hawaii, but if they do, they must abide by the traveler quarantine order and be prepared to stay inside for 14 days.”

Law enforcement officers are standing by to deal with anyone who refuses the process or becomes combative.

In addition, 20 HDOT Administration Division employees have been reassigned to conduct follow up calls to residents to verify they are abiding by the 14 day traveler quarantine order beginning today. Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) personnel will continue calling visitors during the traveler quarantine period.

HDOT employees are also working with the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) to help with unemployment claims at the convention center.

“HDOT and its employees are going above and beyond their normal duties and are working to help the community during this extraordinary time,” said Director Butay.

Overall passenger arrivals to Hawaii are down more than 99 percent from this time last year. Currently there are very few incoming flights to Hawaii. The only remaining domestic flights to Honolulu are from San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and Seattle. The only regularly scheduled international destination is Guam. There are minimal trans-Pacific flights arriving to neighbor islands. Right now, only Delta Airlines is flying from Los Angeles to Kahului, Kona and Lihue 3-4 times a week.

Transit Agency Extends Shared Ride Taxi Coupons Deadline

The county of Hawaii reports that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of their Shared Ride users are unable to use the Shared Ride Taxi Coupons within the timeframe allowed. For the convenience of their users, the Hawaii County Mass Transit Agency is extending the expiration date from April 30, 2020 to May 31, 2020.

Do not alter the expiration dates on the coupons as they will not be accepted.  

The Mass Transit Agency has notified the participating taxi companies of this extension.  

For further information, call Mass Transit at 961-8744.

Hele-On Bus Service Answers Questions

As stated previously, Roberts Tours and Transportation became the new Hele-On Contractor on April 1, 2020. Since they took over, we have received emails and calls regarding different issues. We’d like to answer them now.

Q – Is Hele On still running?

A – Yes.  We added some buses on April 1st then we made changes on April 9.  On that date we cancelled routes with zero ridership, combined routes, and sent extra buses to an afternoon run from the South Kohala Resorts to Hilo because of the large number of riders and we needed to ensure that we were practicing social distancing to the fullest extent possible. Roberts is operating many routes right now because of the shortage of county buses. We will place our buses in service once they are operable.

Q – Why are we being asked to call Roberts?

A – In the new contract, Roberts has special personnel assigned to Hele-On. Their dispatchers are available 7 a.m. to 5:30 pm. Monday through Saturday. Roberts employs all drivers not the County. Also, Roberts has a special program that can track where their buses are and they will have firsthand knowledge. The county will have a new program for all new buses but we only have four new ones (the fourth should be on base today) and we will be installing that program. It may take time because of the pandemic and the company is on the mainland but we will let you know when it is fully operational. However the buses can be put in to service without that technology. We hope to put at least two buses in service either the end of April or May 1st.

Q – Can we still call Mass Transit?

A – Of course. Mass Transit still oversees the Hele-On bus system. Most of our staff is very knowledgeable about Hele-On however there is one person who is a volunteer who hasn’t been trained in the Hele-On routes. She will either transfer the call to one of our other staff or to Roberts as they can also answer questions.

Q – Why are Roberts buses at the Hawaii Volcano National Park. Are they doing tours there?

A – Roberts are using their own buses for several routes if our county buses are not available. The Park is one of our stops. Even though the Park is closed riders will still wait there. The buses cannot go in to the park itself but it will turn in to pick up and drop off riders. NO TOURS are being conducted as the park is closed.

Q – Why are we still going to the South Kohala Resorts area, including the Four Seasons if they are closed?

A – Not all staff has been laid off. Some housekeeping and landscaping staff are still working. We will continue to assist these riders to and from work to the fullest extent possible.

Q – How are we practicing social distancing?

A – We are limiting the amount of riders that can be in the office at one time, depending on the bus size. Also, for the safety of the driver, nobody can sit within two rows behind the driver.

Q – What about sanitizing the buses?

A – Each county bus is equipped with a hand sanitizer and wipes. Gloves are available for the drivers. Disinfectants are also available between routes. The buses that return to the county baseyard are cleaned and sanitized. Roberts has their own sanitization procedures. The county supplied them with gloves and other supplies as available.

We hope this answers some of your questions.

Again, please be safe and healthy. We’re all in this together.

Brenda Carreira

Mass Transit Administrator

HDOT Postpones Action at Dillingham Airfield Due to COVID-19

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Airports Division has notified tenants of Dillingham Airfield the termination of their permit at the facility has been rescinded due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. HDOT’s goal is to terminate the lease with the U.S. Army by June 30, 2021 and expects that all tenant permits will be terminated by that date at the latest. Tenants may use this additional time to make alternative arrangements. All terms, conditions, and requirements of the tenants’ permits remain in effect.

“HDOT acknowledges that due to the events of the COVID-19 pandemic it may be more difficult for tenants to find suitable alternative locations or move their belongings from the airfield by the original time frame, which is two months from now,” said Director Jade Butay, Hawaii Department of Transportation.

HDOT will continue coordination with the U.S. Army and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the necessary steps regarding the termination of the HDOT lease and handing management of the property back to the military.

To view previous news releases on the subject please click the hyperlinks below:

HDOT, U.S. Army and FAA continue Dillingham Airfield transition to military management – Feb. 11, 2020

HDOT to transfer Dillingham Airfield back to the U.S. Army – Feb. 6, 2020

Hawaii Island Lane Closures for April 11 – 17

Hawaii Island lane closures scheduled for the week of April 11 – April 17

NOTE: Lane closure schedules may change at any time without further notice. All projects are weather permitting.

— HAWAII BELT ROAD (ROUTES 19/190) —

1) HONOMU Closure of single lane at a time on Hawaii Belt Road (Route 19) in both directions between mile markers 13 and 15, at the intersection of Hawaii Belt Road and Old Mamalahoa Highway, on Saturday, April 11, through Friday, April 17, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., for landscaping work. Traffic flow in both directions will be maintained through alternating traffic control (contraflow). 2) PAAUILO Closure of single lane at a time on Hawaii Belt Road (Route 19) in both directions between mile markers 36 and 38, near Kaumoalii Stream Bridge, on Monday, April 13, through Friday, April 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., for guardrail installation work. Traffic flow in both directions will be maintained through alternating traffic control (contraflow). 3) KONA Closure of single lane at a time on Hawaii Belt Road (Route 190) in both directions between mile markers 30 and 32, on Saturday, April 11, through Friday, April 17, from 8 a.m. to 5p.m., for landscape maintenance. Traffic flow in both directions will be maintained through alternating traffic control (contraflow). 4) HONOKAA Closure of single lane at a time on Hawaii Belt Road (Route 19) in both directions between mile markers 42 and 44 on Saturday, April 11, through Friday, April 17, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., for landscaping work. Traffic flow in both directions will be maintained through alternating traffic control (contraflow).

— KEAAU-PAHOA ROAD (ROUTE 130) —

1) PAHOA (24-Hour Work) Lane shift on Keaau-Pahoa Road (Route 130) in the northbound direction at the intersection of Keaau-Pahoa Road and Ainaloa Boulevard, on Monday, April 13, through Thursday, April 16, over a 24-hour period, for construction of the Ainaloa Roundabout.

MAMALAHOA HIGHWAY (ROUTE 11) —

1) KAU Closure of single lane at a time on Mamalahoa Highway (Route 11) in both directions in between mile markers 28 and 32, on Saturday, April 11, through Friday, April 17, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for landscaping work. Traffic flow in both directions will be maintained through alternating traffic control (contraflow). 2) KAU Closure of single lane at a time on Mamalahoa Highway (Route 11) in both directions in the vicinity of mile markers 68 and 70, Mamalahoa Highway and 68 Mile Road, on Saturday, April 11, through Friday, April 17, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., for landscaping work. Traffic flow in both directions will be maintained through alternating traffic control (contraflow). 3) NAALEHU Closure of single lane at a time on Mamalahoa Highway (Route 11) in both directions in between mile markers 62 and 63, on Saturday, April 11, through Friday, April 17, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for waterline excavation. Traffic flow in both directions will be maintained through alternating traffic control (contraflow).

— AKONI PULE HIGHWAY (ROUTE 270) —

1) NORTH KOHALA Closure of single lane at a time on Akoni Pule Highway (Route 270) in both directions between mile markers 20 and 22, Soares Road and Iole Road, on Saturday, April 11, through Friday, April 17, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., for landscaping work. Traffic flow in both directions will be maintained through alternating traffic control (contraflow). 2) NORTH KOHALA Closure of single lane at a time on Akoni Pule Highway (Route 270) in both directions between Akana Place and Makapala Road, on Monday, April 13, through Friday, April 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., for waterline removal and installation. Traffic flow in both directions will be maintained through alternating traffic control (contraflow).

— KOHALA MOUNTAIN ROAD/HAWI ROAD (ROUTE 250) —

1) NORTH KOHALA Closure of single lane at a time on Kohala Mountain Road/Hawi Road (Route 250) in both directions in the vicinity of mile markers 18 and 19, on Saturday, April 11, through Friday, April 17, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for landscaping work. Traffic flow in both directions will be maintained through alternating traffic control (contraflow).

— PUUHONUA OHONAUNAU ROAD (ROUTE 160) —

1) HONAUNAU Closure of single lane at a time on Puuhonua Ohonaunau Road (Route 160) in both directions in the vicinity of mile markers 0 and 4, on Saturday, April 11, through Friday, April 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for landscaping work. Traffic flow in both directions will be maintained through alternating traffic control (contraflow).

Oahu Residents to Disembark Cruise Ship at Honolulu Harbor

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Harbors Division notifies the public the Pacific Princess cruise ship is scheduled to arrive at Honolulu Harbor on April 13, 2020. The ship was last at port in Melbourne, Australia on March 28; however, no passengers or crew disembarked. It does not have any confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 associated with the vessel. When the ship arrives in Honolulu it will have been at sea longer than the 14 day incubation period. Ship leadership is required to report any health concerns prior to entering Honolulu Harbor.

Pacific Princess

The Pacific Princess does not have enough fuel to reach its final destination in California. It will refuel and take on provisions before it is tentatively scheduled to depart on the same day it arrives.

Four Oahu residents (two couples) on the ship will be allowed to disembark in Honolulu. They will be medically vetted on the ship prior to disembarkation. They will also be subject to medical and temperature screening by AMR paramedics upon leaving the ship. They will be shuttled directly from the harbor to their homes where they will immediately begin their mandatory 14 day quarantine inside their residences.

The remaining 111 passengers and all crewmembers will not be allowed to leave the ship while in Hawaii by order of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HIEMA) Director.

Seabourn Sojourn 

The Seabourn Sojourn is scheduled to arrive at Honolulu Harbor on April 18, 2020. The ship was last at port for fuel and provisions in Melbourne, Australia on March 29. No one left the vessel while at port. There are no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 associated with the vessel. Even though there are no passengers onboard and no one will be allowed to leave the ship in Hawaii, the captain is required to report health concerns prior to entering Honolulu Harbor.

 Seabourn Sojourn

The Seabourn Sojourn ship is tentatively scheduled to depart Honolulu for California the same day it arrives.

By order of the State of Hawaii proclamation and by order of the Director of HIEMA all passenger cruise ship reservations to Hawaii have been canceled through April 30. Exceptions are considered on a case by case basis.