Tour buses parking in handicapped spaces at East Oahu scenic spot

Tour buses parking in handicapped spaces at East Oahu scenic spot
Andrew Namiki Roberts
Andrew Namiki Roberts
Kelly Kealoha
Kelly Kealoha

EAST HONOLULU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At the Halona Blow Hole in East Oahu, there are two designated spaces for tour buses to park, along with four marked stalls for the handicapped. But what happens when there are more buses than places to park them?

According to Honolulu resident Andrew Namiki Roberts, some of them park in the handicapped stalls. And he has the video to prove it.

Roberts shot video Thursday morning showing at least two tour buses, one from TP Transportation, the other from Roberts Hawaii, parked in the handicapped stalls. He said the driver of the first bus apologized and moved it. But he decided to confront the driver of the Roberts Hawaii tour van, with his camera rolling.

"Simple question. Is there a reason you're blocking the handicapped space?" asks Roberts in the video.

"I'm just parking here to let people out," the driver responds.

"You can't do that," Roberts replies. "You have to stop 30 seconds in the loading area, or you can stop over there to unload people. You can't park in the handicapped space."

The driver then laughs and shuts the door on Roberts.

"The guy just didn't care," said Roberts. "I mean, even after it was obvious I was videoing him, he just stayed in the spot for like another five minutes."

Roberts showed the video to friends, who told him to post it on Facebook. He also contacted Roberts Hawaii, which first responded in a Facebook message, thanking him for bringing it to their attention.

Roberts Hawaii president and COO Percy Higashi sent a statement to Hawaii News Now, saying:

"A number of people contacted us to let us know what was happening, and we were told the concerns were not just about Roberts Hawaii, but a number of tour companies. This is not how we want to be represented, and we are addressing it internally to ensure it does not happen again. We believe strongly in our guiding principle, Driven With Aloha, and greatly appreciate hearing from our customers and the community."

Roberts said a tour company manager also called him. 'He thanked me for posting the video. He said thank you for making the video. Thank you for bringing it to our attention."

Other tour companies also parked buses or vans in the handicapped stalls. That upset tour drivers who are following the law, even when the parking lot is crowded.

"Majority of the time when the public parking is packed, cars going park in our stall. And then that pushes us as bus drivers into places where we not supposed to be," said Kelly Kealoha, a driver with Discover Hawaii Tours. "And at the end of the day it draws attention because now it makes us look bad for parking in a stall that belongs to people who actually need it."

"There's a lot of people in Hawaii, there's a lot of military veterans, there's a lot of the older generation that have these cards for a reason," said Roberts, referring to the handicapped parking permits. "And the people who take up the space like this, it's just disrespectful."

Roberts said he was glad to hear from Roberts Hawaii, but is still concerned that other tour drivers won't get the message.

"Is this going to be something that, if I come down here tomorrow, am I going to see the same thing from other companies still?"

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