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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, June 19, 2001

Kaimuki trolley still an idea worth keeping

Kaimuki, a mix of the old and the new, is a gem of a neighborhood. And, a largely undiscovered gem. Ever since the freeway was extended in the 1960s, residents from both east and west began to bypass the business district for malls.

An interesting concept was born last summer out of Kaimuki's economic ebb: a trolley between Waikiki and Kaimuki. It's a good synergy. Kaimuki offers something off the beaten track for second- or third-time visitors. And at a buck a ride, it's a deal.

But the trolley, too, remains largely undiscovered. It was a big hit on Saturday, when it was free. But too often the trolley is nearly empty.

This city-backed experiment in community transportation needs to succeed. It can reduce traffic, improve the economic life of an established neighborhood and let tourists experience more than the guidebook stops.

The city is to be commended for putting up the $450,000 it took to get this going. It has the support of Kaimuki businesses and community groups. Let's hope that the one-year project will be continued even if first-year business has been slower than hoped.