HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced an official opening date for the Honolulu rail. June 30 will be the big day when riders can finally travel by train.
The City is encouraging the public to ride the rail and announced rides will be free of charge during its opening weekend.
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The first Honolulu rail ride with passengers will leave the Kapolei station at 2 p.m. The last stop for riders will be the Halawa/ Aloha Stadium station, at least for now.
“This community has waited a long time for this project,” Blangiardi said. “Now that we’re finally here, we want to celebrate this for the men and women who live here and children to ride.”
The original plan was for the rail to travel from Kapolei to Ala Moana with service beginning in 2020. Those plans were changed due to delays and cost increases. The first phase is about half the length with double its initial budget.
The City’s Department of Transportation Services Director Roger Morton said they want residents to give the rail a try.
Morton said, “We are planning to have free transit for all our modes, our bus, our rail; and we are going to do that on the first, second, third and the fourth of July.”
Riders will be able to ride the rail and transfer to the City bus by using the Holo card. City officials anticipate high demand for Holo cards during the rail’s opening weekend; they are encouraging residents to buy one beforehand.
The rail has been going through trail runs since last fall and reached the needed 98.5% success rate. The HART Executive Director Lori Kahikina said fixes on cracks found on some of the t-shaped structures supporting stations will be completed by the end of May.
Kahikina said, “The cause was that there wasn’t enough rebar in the hammerheads; and, so, that’s why we’re doing post, post-tensioning. We’re actually putting end weldments material on the outside of the hammerhead and cabling running through it and cinching; it’s like a belt.”
The yearly cost to operate and maintain the rail will be about $94 million.
Blangiardi said, “We are a big city. We have a million people here; and while not everybody is in this corridor, this is a really necessary part of how we live here. And I think it’s going to prove itself.”
Officials said there are more than 1200 parking stalls throughout the rail system. They are exploring other areas to build more parking spaces.
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The rail will operate on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on weekends and holidays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.. Transportation officials said they plan on extending operating hours once the rail reaches the airport, likely in the Summer of 2025.