Honolulu's rail transportation system is set to begin passenger operations on June 30 at the gates of the Hālawa Aloha stadium station. Boarding gates will have HOLO card readers, where passengers must “touch” the charged card in order to travel. The first phase of the city's railway project covers a stretch of approximately 17 kilometers between Kualaka`i station, in eastern Kapolei, and Hālawa station, near Aloha Stadium. Passenger services to other stations located further east along the railway line are expected to begin in stages in the coming years.
On June 30, train passengers will be able to visit any of the nine stations that will be open and get on any train, in any direction, for free. The fares for the nine stations will be open to all passengers until the service ends at 18:00. Starting Saturday, July 1, the first full day of train service, passengers must have a valid HOLO card to enjoy the free fare service. Passengers must use their HOLO cards at payment gates to enter individual stations, but fares will not be deducted from those cards.
The city's Department of Transportation Services (DTS) will soon assume operational control of the first phase of the rail line in the hands of the Honolulu Rapid Transit Authority. To help the public familiarize themselves with how to access stations, board trains and “use HOLO cards” to enter train stations, DTS is organizing a weekend of free fares. The Department of Transportation Services encourages anyone who does not have a valid HOLO card to obtain one before the start of interim rail operations. The main reason for building this railway system is that Honolulu's current public transportation system has been hampered by increased traffic congestion on highways.
Councilwoman René Mansho changed her support for the railroad to a single decisive negative vote in September 1992, which delayed its completion. Discussions about railroads often turn into discussions about railroads versus other modes of transportation. Three alternatives included stopping the train on Middle Street and then switching to a rapid transit bus or a lighter rail system to Ala Moana Central Station (saving the construction of seven stations for later), continuing with the bus service, or continuing with a railroad system at street level. Railroad advocates say that this project will cause traffic congestion to grow more slowly than without it, will support the development of housing and commercial properties near train stations, and provide an alternative and constant mode of transportation that will not be affected by accidents or traffic jams on the roads.
HOLO cards for adults can be purchased at local stores, at train station ticket machines at the entrance of each train station, or at the bus pass office. With this comprehensive guide, you can now easily understand when Honolulu's rail transportation system is starting and how you can access it.