6.0 PARATRANSIT SERVICES IN THE CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU
Periodically , entrepreneurs will speak in favor of allowing jitney service operations in the City and County of Honolulu. The request is often coupled with criticism of a regulatory system that jitney proponents believe prohibits or at the least discourages jitneys.
As described in Section 4.1, the general characteristics of a jitney service are:
In loosely defined terms, jitney services are often described as hybrids of bus and taxi services. Unlike taxis, however, jitneys generally follow fixed routes and carry unrelated passengers to unrelated destinations.
The section examines the current state of regulation in Hawaii, and explores the issues that should frame any proposed policy on jitney service for the City.
6.1 CURRENT REGULATIONS
Independent small vehicle carriers are most likely to fall under the City and County's taxicab rules and regulations. administered by the Department of Customer Service-Chapter 12, Regulations of Common Carriers and Their Fees. Revised Ordinances of Honolulu (see Appendix A). As of 1998, there were 1365 taxicabs licensed to do business in the City and County –
Upon initial reading, jitney services would not appear to be allowed under the City rules, except when there is a total stoppage in the public bus service (see Sec. 12-1.11 Special operations). This section appears to treat jitney services as an extreme exception, rather than an allowable practice under certain conditions. Taxicabs, however, are allowed to provide shared-ride service, as long as each passenger agrees to share the ride with the other passenger( s} ( see Sec. 12-1.24 Shared-ride service: Sec. 12-1.4 Prohibited acts. (d) Additional Passengers). This section on shared ride service specifically allows for limousines and multi-passenger vans. Under the shared ride service rule, any taxicab could technically operate as a jitney by having signage indicating that it is a shared ride taxicab for a particular street or route.
The State Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regulates non-taxicab transportation service carriers-Hawaii Administrative Rules, Title 6. Chapter 62, Motor Carrier Rules and Classification of Property and Passenger Carriers (see Appendix B). In general, the PUC-regulated carriers are companies with one or more fleets of vehicles ranging in size from large vans to shuttles to mini-buses to full-size buses.
The PUC issues two types of certificates for non-taxicab transportation service carriers: irregular route and regular route. The certificate of irregular route service is for service of a general nature, which may have fixed stops but not on a regular schedule. All of the major transportation and tour companies have certificates of irregular route service. The certificate of regular route service is for service over a fixed route with stops at fixed locations and on a time schedule, which could be daily or hourly. Examples of regular route service are E Noa Tours' Waikiki Trolley, and Trans Hawaiian's Ala Moana Shuttle. Companies under regular route certificates operate in such areas as Maui's Kapalua/Kaanapali/Wailea/Lahaina loop, and between resort areas on the island of Hawaii. Regular route service is almost akin to a private bus service. Although, there is
no public subsidy, some companies keep passenger fares low by seeking cost sharing from resort properties and attractions serviced by the regular route service.
Specifically exempt from PUC rules are .county-regulated passenger carrying operations known as .jitney services.... .utilizing motor vehicles that have seating accommodations for six to twenty-five passengers, operate along specific routes during defined service hours, and levy a flat fare schedule" (see Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 271-5(18), Exemptions, generally) (see Appendix C). The intent of this exemption seems to be one of avoiding doubly regulating jitney operations. However, as described earlier, the City and County of Honolulu does not currently regulate jitney services, except for providing an exception for service during a total bus stoppage. In fact, under the PUC's current rules structure, a regulated motor carrier could operate a service that would have many of the same features as a jitney service, i.e., fixed route, semi-regular schedule of smaller vehicles such as trolleys or shuttle vans or mini-buses.
6.2 ISSUES TO CONSIDER IN SHAPING A JITNEY POLICY
One of the primary reasons for discouraging or forbidding jitney services is to deter the siphoning of fare-paying passengers from the public transit and bus systems. Jitney services have been most successful when confined to exclusive routes or regulated in ways designed to complement rather than compete with other transportation modalities. In these situations, they have been welcomed additions to the total transportation network.
Under public transportation policy, private jitney services can offer the benefits of choice and frequency without extending public costs. However, these services would not be .free" from public costs if ridership on the public transportation systems were to be negatively affected, causing either fares or subsidies to increase.
The City should also consider the cost of regulation. A policy that encouraged independent jitney operators might require a regulatory process similar to the licensing of taxicabs.
Another factor is the impact of jitney regulation on the marketplace. Jitney services are unlikely to survive if fares are equal to taxicab fares. Taxicabs, on the other hand, could face serious competition if jitney fares are competitively priced and the services are frequent and efficient. As it is, taxi fares are considered high as compared to other cities of similar density- Taxicab operators argue that the fare structure must take into consideration the large number of taxis and the higher cost of operations and fuel.
Technical Paper on Privatization Options rimary Corridor Transportation Swdy 6-2 Preliminary Working Document