Thursday, April 21, 2011

Honolulu Rail System’s Construction Cost Drops

The long-awaiting update to the City’s financial plan to fund the rail system has been submitted to the FTA and is available in all its detail at Honolulu rail’s website.

Space limitations forced the Star-Advertiser to leave out much relevant information from its report today, so in addition to providing a link to the plan, we’re highlighting material from the plan’s Summary about the system that’s often overlooked.

Rail provides the most cost-effective option for handling future transit demand. In part due to labor costs accounting for a smaller percentage of the Rail project’s cost structure than bus, the Rail project will handle larger volumes of passengers at higher levels of productivity. In 2030, the Rail project will move each passenger at a cost of $0.34 per mile, whereas bus will move each passenger at a cost of $0.72 per mile. Similarly, in 2030 rail will have a farebox recovery ratio of approximately 40 percent while bus will have a farebox recovery ratio of approximately 27 percent. This illustrates the fact that, once fully implemented, the Project is expected to carry a larger load relative to its operating and maintenance cost than bus. The combined farebox recovery ratio for bus and rail will be consistent with City policy.
Operating revenues are supported by the City’s farebox recovery policy. Historically, the City has achieved a balanced budget for transit operations. During the economic crisis of the last few years, TheBus has taken steps to ensure it is providing the most cost-effective and efficient services. This has resulted in the restructuring of services that did not meet performance standards. Additionally, the City recently increased fares to ensure that farebox recovery rates remain between 27 percent and 33 percent and keep pace with inflation. The Financial Plan assumes that fare recovery policy will be maintained through FY2030 and assumes periodic fare increases, which is consistent with historic trends.
The Project will enhance mobility for Oahu residents, workers and visitors across the island. The Project will provide enhanced mobility for over 77 percent of Oahu’s residents and over 88 percent of its workforce who live and work in the areas within and connecting to the corridor, and for its many visitors. In addition to the initiation of rail service, TheBus and TheHandi-Van services will be enhanced and the bus network will be modified to efficiently coordinate with the rail system. Some existing bus routes, including peak-period express buses, will be altered or eliminated to reduce duplication of services provided by the rail system. Buses removed from service in the study corridor will be shifted to service in other parts of Oahu, resulting in improved transit service island-wide.

No comments: