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HART Board Approves Funding for Additional Train Car Seats

HART Board Approves Funding for Additional Train Car Seats

Oahu commuters will see an increase in the
number of seats available on the new rail transit system. The
Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s (HART) board of
directors approved the funding to pay for 800 additional passenger
seats for its railcar fleet ?a 25 percent increase.

Members of HART’s Finance and Project
Oversight committees unanimously approved $1.75 million to pay for
the additional seating during a joint meeting today. The cost
includes design changes to the train cars to accommodate the
additional seating, as well as the fabrication, production and
installation of the seats.

The additional seating will be paid for using
existing contingency funds built into the budget and will not
change the overall cost of the project. Each two-car train will now
have 96 seats, with room for luggage, bikes and surfboards.

“We’re building this system for our customers,
and they’ve made it clear that they want more seats on our trains,”
said HART Executive Director and CEO Dan Grabauskas. “Adding more
seating is part of our overall goal of making the transit
experience as safe, reliable and comfortable as possible.”

“The board’s approval today for additional train
seats ensures we have a high-quality finished product that is
user-friendly and customer focused,” said Damien Kim, chairman of
HART’s Project Oversight Committee. “In designing and building this
system, we need to be flexible and open in making adjustments that
are in the best interest of the riders and taxpayers.”

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the additional
seating is good news for the public. “My pledge as mayor has been
to build rail better and smarter, and the decision to increase
seating is part of that ongoing effort,” Caldwell said. “We will
continue working with HART to look at other areas where we can
improve the design and operation of the rail system to make it more
user friendly.”

Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernest Martin said, “This is a
good example of the importance of public input at the early stages
of design and the decision to increase the number of seats
demonstrates HART’s willingness to accommodate public
preferences.  More seats will likely attract more riders and
ridership will ultimately determine the success of rail.”

The rail system includes 21 stations at key education,
employment and retail destinations, including UH-West Oahu, Leeward
and Honolulu community colleges, Honolulu International Airport,
Downtown Honolulu, Pearl Harbor and Ala Moana and Pearlridge
shopping centers.  The first 10 miles of the rail system from
Kapolei to Aloha Stadium is expected to open in 2017, with the full
20-mile line opening in 2019. 

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