LIHUE — New rules and regulations regarding county bus stops went into effect Monday.
These new rules and regulations are a result of comments received from the public during a public hearing held on Friday, Jan. 12, according to a county press release.
“Accessible bus stops are a priority for our customers and the new rules are a result of concerns brought to us from the community,” said Transportation Executive Celia Mahikoa. “It is important that the County of Kauai maintains these stops for all users of the bus.”
According to the County of Kauai’s Transportation Agency’s Rules and Regulations on Procedures for the use and closure of county bus stops:
• All county bus stops shall be closed for use and not occupied by any person from the hours of midnight to 4 a.m.;
• No person shall possess or consume any drugs or alcohol, or be smoking (including electronic cigarettes) at county bus stops;
• No person shall erect any structure or fixture within a county bus stop or an area immediately adjacent thereto;
• And no person shall occupy a bus stop in a manner that inhibits its full and adequate use by the public.
Any person violating these rules shall, upon conviction, be fined in an amount not exceeding $100 or be imprisoned for a period up to 10 days or be both fined and imprisoned.
One woman, El Aina DaNine, has been living at a county bus stop in Kapaa for more than a year. She eats and sleeps there, chats with people, reads and keeps some of her things there People sometimes bring her food.
But some have complained she takes up the entire bench and riders can’t sit down to wait for the bus.
In November, TGI asked the county why DaNine was allowed to live at the bus stop.
The county sent this response: “County of Kauai officials have met with this individual on numerous occasions since March. Officials and police officers have offered her assistance in relocating and referred her to seek help from various resource agencies. However, she has politely declined all offers.
“We can understand the frustration from bus riders who frequent this stop, and the county is working on ways to prohibit loitering at bus stops when the bus is not in operation. Before we move forward, the county will work with the community, the County Council and fellow county agencies to create a fair solution for all users of the bus.”
DaNine, a Christian, previously said if she is forced to move, she will “inquire with the Holy Spirit, and maybe have prayer before the council meeting.”
As of Tuesday, DaNine remained at the bus stop with her belongings.