Rate Commission seeks testimony on bus and rail fares

The Honolulu Rate Commission will take public testimony on the future of mass transit fares at a meeting from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Mission Memorial Hearing Room.

The commission’s work is being closely watched because it will make a recommendation on the cost to ride the city’s rail line, which is supposed to open with a limited segment in December 2020.

Some of the topics to be covered include whether bus and rail fares should be the same, with no charge for transfers, as well as whether there should be flat rates or distance-based rates and the categories for rates.

Also to be discussed are whether discounted monthly and annual passes should continue, whether rides on the Holo Card should be capped and whether the cost of riding TheBus and Handi-Van should be the same for a single ride. The commission is also considering whether rates at the beginning of rail should be free, and for how long, and whether seniors should ride for free, as well, and when.

The commission will hold a second public hearing from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 10 also at the Mission Memorial Hearing Room, which is in the City Hall annex building on the Diamond Head side of Honolulu Hale.

Testimony can also be submitted in writing to Howard “Puni” Chee at or mailed to Rate Commission, c/o Howard “Puni” Chee, Department of Transportation Services (C&C Honolulu), 650 S. King St., Second Floor, Honolulu, HI, 96813.

The commission is advisory and will make a recommendation to the Honolulu City Council, which sets the rates for transit fares.