Letter for Saturday, June 15, 2019

Locals deserve lower shuttle rate

Today’s TGI (June 13) laid out the plans for the North Shore shuttle. It listed an “introductory rate” of $11 for a roundtrip, reserved seat at a specific time. There is also a $2 fee to just ride around the North Shore area.

As a Kauai resident and a lover and supporter of our magnificent North Shore, I commend the idea of a shuttle as a way for visitors to see Haena State Park and enjoy the beauty of this natural wonder, as well as the educational opportunities offered in the surrounding areas of the beach.

However, I find the lack of a kama‘aina rate distressing. While $11 may not seem like much to tourists visiting our island for the first (or 20th) time, it certainly could pose a hardship for those of us on a fixed or insufficient incomes.

Many of our residents struggle to afford food and shelter. Many of us are kupuna on a fixed income. I do understand that Hawaii residents will not have to pay the $1 park entry fee, nor, should we choose to drive and are able to reserve one of the 30 resident parking spots, will we have to pay the $5 parking fee. This is nice, and it is appreciated.

Perhaps the $2 roundtrip ride fee and the $1 park entry fee should be increased for non-residents. And perhaps the $11 shuttle rate should apply to non-residents, with a lower rate for residents. We live here. We suffered through the horrific rains and the resulting damage. We have waited patiently for the road to reopen. We deserve a kama‘aina rate on the North Shore shuttle.

Donna Gould Carsten, Kapaa

  1. Ideas June 15, 2019 3:23 am Reply

    I came up with the idea and the Mayor stole it and ran away with it when reading about subcontracting jobs on the blogs (former KauaiEclectic).

    The quid pro quo and creation of the shuttle was a crime in itself. The former Mayor did a no bid contract with his pal that paid him over a hundred thousand dollars for a 3 month operation as a test pilot program. I believe the operator also charged fees for riding the shuttle but don’t know if he paid GE taxes. The profitable scheme continued under the previous Mayor, just like the subcontractors that’s being paid to clean the bushes and trees in front of the county bldg going to Wilcox school and continuing to Rice st. Yeah the street with like 20 cross walks, I guess the county had to justify why they spent $10,000,000 for that phony project.

    All of these schemes are being paid for by raising the taxes on the people. They have already spent the GE taxes by giving executive positions and county council over 10-15% raises back to back years.

  2. JR June 15, 2019 6:32 am Reply

    seriously? How many other states offer a kama‘aina rate? If you can’t afford to live here perhaps move to another state with lower housing and food costs? The charges for visiting the park should be the same for visitor and local alike. Make everyone reserve and pay for parking. Taxes for Haena residents should increase as well.

  3. Joel Guy June 15, 2019 9:44 am Reply

    Aloha Donna,

    Sorry for the confusion. Residents pay $2 to go anywhere on the shuttle. Residents can also use a Kauai bus pass to ride the shuttle. If a resident wants to take the shuttle into Ke’e you would pay the $2 and show your Hawaii ID as you exit in the park.

    Visitors into Ke’e will pay $11.

  4. Sue June 15, 2019 9:47 am Reply

    Am in total agreement with you! That is quite a bit of money if you decide to use the shuttle two or more times per week! I had no idea it was going to cost the locals anything.

    Thank you for writing this kind, well thought out letter. I hope that the authorities listen to you and heed your counsel.

  5. numilalocal June 15, 2019 12:59 pm Reply

    Why should ANY residents have to take a shuttle? Why should ANY residents have to sign up for a parking space when literally 90% of them are reserved for tourists?

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