Senior-friendly Idea For The Mayor

Just about all the buses and trains I have ever ridden elsewhere had something you don’t find in public transportation in Hawaii: restrooms.

It would probably cost too much to retrofit our public bus system with restrooms, but it would sure make the seniors happy if they did.

If you’ve ever been stuck in traffic congestion on our highways and byways, you probably have experienced the need to use a restroom at one time or another.

I was listening to Mayor Kirk Caldwell rave about how he’s having the potholes repaired on our highways and byways to make everyone’s commute smoother. It may be my imagination, but it seems that every mayor we’ve had in the last several decades has promised to fix the pothole situation, and it hasn’t happened.

All we have to show for the effort is an expensive machine specially designed to fix potholes in Hawaii sitting in a warehouse getting rusty. It couldn’t perform as predicted because they claimed that the asphalt we used was inferior. OK, we bought that excuse.

Now the mayor said April 3 in his State of the City address that he wanted to make Honolulu more “senior friendly,” and was going to ask AARP to help with some suggestions.

Well, I got tired of waiting and thought it might help the seniors on Oahu if TheBus system was outfitted with restrooms. Being stuck on a bus or a train can be difficult for seniors.

It’s not uncommon for traffic to be at a dead standstill for an hour or more. For most seniors, getting in a situation like that can be very uncomfortable, because there is nowhere to go for relief.

I searched around out of curiosity and found only two bus services in Hawaii that provide restrooms.

One is Royal Star Transportation, which has the largest and newest fleet, featuring 18 deluxe 58-seat MCI 4500 series motor coaches with onboard restrooms. It is celebrating its 15th anniversary by adding 10 brand-new deluxe ADA-accessible coaches, and is the first 100 percent seat-belted operator in Hawaii. The other service is Polynesian Adventure Tours, on some of its buses.

We already are making changes to our rail cars by adding more seats, talking about how to consolidate the management of the city bus service and rail system into one organization to limit duplication, so it may be something to discuss. Cost always is a major consideration, of course.

Onboard restrooms for our trains and buses would be welcomed by seniors. You already know what the politicians will say to such a basic idea: It “depends.”