Handi-Van outlines plans to improve system, shorten delays

Local News

Problems linger for the city’s Handi-Van system, a service that’s endured ongoing complaints from customers.

Even after improvements, passengers told us sometimes they have to wait hours just for the van to arrive.

We’ve been following TheHandi-Van issues and fixes since last year and on Thursday, we got an update from officials.

“The wait times that he is saying residents are having is not the wait times that we’re hearing of. We’re hearing an hour to an hour-and-a-half wait times,” said Honolulu City Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine.

But Oahu Transit Services Roger Morton says there has been a slight improvement with on-time arrivals.

“What are the wait times like now and how have they improved from the past?” KHON2 asked.

“There’s been a slight improvement and we’re running in the 80 percentages,” said Morton.

He says they are moving forward with more improvements that will, officials hope, continue to help.

That includes adding to the fleet. Last year, there were 125 vans and now, there are 162.

More drivers are also being hired for the additional vans. A class of 12 just graduated this month and more will be ready in June and September.

TheHandi-Van will also hire temporary workers to help with reservations while customers get used to the new system.

“We think it’s mostly a learning situation now for our customers and once we go through a few months of negotiation with customers, then we won’t have the long talk times,” Morton said.

TheHandi-Van is also launching a new app so customers can track where their Handi-Van is and when it’s expected to arrive.

But some say tardiness and staffing issues aren’t the only problems.

Customer Debra Burrows complained about a lack of communication, saying she canceled a service well before her pickup time, but the vehicle still arrived.

“You’re wasting resources like that. I talked to a human being who answered the phone. You waste time, a driver, a van, fuel,” said Burrows.

Officials are still searching for someone to lead TheHandi-Van. The former vice president was reassigned earlier this month.

A list of candidates should be in place by August.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.