Thursday, March 31, 2011

‘Isolation Factor’ Requires a Seat for Each Okole

Hawaii’s isolation has some advantages. Distance seemingly makes tourists’ hearts beat faster, and millions annually visit the most remote inhabited place on the planet at least in part because of the exotica remoteness implies.

But the islands’ isolation has its disadvantages. It costs more to live here than just about everywhere in the United States. We import our energy and burn oil to create 78 percent of the state’s electricity; Florida is next at about 10 percent. Our economy runs almost exclusively on imported energy.

Perspectives suffer from isolation, too, and the evidence is played out in the Star-Advertiser’s letters-to-the-editor column regarding Honolulu’s future rail system.

In the 10 days since the City announced award of the “core systems” contract to Ansaldo, among the rail opponents’ objections is the Ansaldo cars' seating capacity; there won’t be a seat for every passenger.

Some will sit and some will stand, just like passengers do on rail transit cars already in service in cities all over the world. That fact is lost on the letter writers who are complaining about the cars.

“…what genius decided that there should be only 72 seats in two cars, but room for more than 300 standees?” asked one, who wrote that people won’t ride if “they’ll have to stand the entire time.” Said another, “…the cattle-car passenger experience will be so miserable that people will be willing to try it only once.” Another writer inferred from the car layout that the “only people expected to ride the cars are young, strong and wearing running shoes.”

From where we sit (and stand), those perspectives are one consequence of the islands’ isolation and our residents’ relatively low exposure to rail systems. The writers certainly are entitled to hold and express them, even if they don’t reflect the reality of millions of commuters who choose to ride rail transit each day and do so without complaint.


Hawaii_Concience said...

Rail at any price the supporters say, despite likelihood the federal will not come up with need dowwars which will put more on the back of the residents.

Doug Carlson said...

Can't really judge your comment since you provided no citations or justification for it. And to be accurate, nobody's said anything about "rail at any price" here at Yes2Rail.

Do you have anything to say in direct response to today's post -- anything at all?