City cracks down on chronic "no-show" Handi-Van riders

Published On: May 11 2014 01:43:56 PM HST   Updated On: May 11 2014 06:38:01 PM HST

As Honolulu gets nearly a hundred new Handi-Vans, it starts a new policy to crack down on a costly bad habit by riders.

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Aging vans that repeatedly broke down led to Handi-Van customers regularly complaining about the reliability of their rides.

According to Oahu Transit Service, the slowdown in service is made worse by those who make a reservation but don't show up.

"There are people who call for a van and no one is there to be picked up, because they changed their mind and decided they didn't need it," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

In January, 7,500 rides or nearly 10 percent of the 90,000 reservations were "no shows" or riders who cancelled when the van arrived or after it had already started its pickup.

Some riders may occasionally miss a pickup because appointments run long, they are ill or have a family emergency, but the city also has a number of riders who chronically do not show up.

In one month, 47 Handi-Van customers each had 10 or more no-shows, adding up to 748 wasted rides.

The worst offender of the group had 47 no-shows in that same month.

"People who at the last minute cancel a ride, that takes rides away from others. So we've implemented a plan to try and control that," said Roger Morton with OTS.

The city will now send out a letter to the 14,000 registered riders, letting them know when they've had three or more no-shows or late cancellations in a month.

If that happens again and again, after three months the rider could be suspended from using the Handi-Van service.

"This is aimed at habitual no-show offenders who have a very high frequency of unexcused no-shows," said Morton.

Riders can be excused if they let OTS know they were faced with circumstances beyond their control.

Since each Handi-Van trip costs on average $36, cutting down on unnecessary journeys because chronic no-showers could save the city tens of thousands of dollars each month.

Now that the new no-show policy has started, OTS will be streamlining its reservation system. That should in place by October, when the last of the 99 new Handi-Vans are also expected to go into service.


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