Federal transit review: Honolulu's buses and Handi-Vans improved over 2009

Published: May. 29, 2012 at 9:06 PM HST|Updated: May. 30, 2012 at 1:54 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – A federal review completed last month found Honolulu has improved its city bus and Handi-Van services since their last federal evaluation three years ago, but there's still work to be done.

Honolulu has the 4th highest per capita transit ridership in the country, following the sprawling mainland metropolises of New York City, Chicago and San Francisco, which are first, second and third.

A Federal Transit Administration review of The Bus and Handi-Van operations – which concluded in April -- found improvements from its last review in 2009.  It's known as a triennial review, since it's conducted every three years.

That's when the FTA discovered Honolulu was being behind schedule on maintenance of Handi-Van vehicles and lacked proper inventory control at mechanic shops.

"This time around, they've made great strides.  Our Handi-Vans are being maintained on time and the inventory control is much tighter and it's being documented. So I think that's what the FTA was looking to see," said Wayne Yoshioka, the city's transportation director.

The federal report found deficiencies in eight of 24 areas.

Among them: the city failed to notify the FTA directly of change orders worth more than $100,000 on transit projects using federal grant money.

"They want a specific communication from us to them saying 'We did this.' and we were deficient in that.  So we'll make sure that we will do that from now on," Yoshioka said.

The city also failed to document a drug and alcohol testing program for its Handi-Van contractors, drivers from The Cab, even though the monitoring program is in place.

"A lot of these deficiencies had to do with documentation.  The FTA didn't feel our documentation was detailed enough or done in quite correctly," Yoshioka said.

Yoshioka said the city is following proper procedures in many transit-related areas, but has not kept records about all of them for the feds.

The next federal review of transit operations in Honolulu is set for three years from now, in 2015.

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