Hawaii County is making its transit system compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as part of the settlement of a lawsuit filed by a Maui resident who claimed the county denied him equal access to public transportation.
The claimant employs an electric scooter to get around, and the stories of other riders who use similar scooters have corroborated the claim that the mobility devices are difficult to fit in certain bus aisles.
The settlement agreement was signed Aug. 13, awarding attorney’s fees and $10,000 for the claimant. The terms of the agreement further give Hawaii County two years to establish a para-transit system.
A para-transit plan is expected to cost $800,000, but the county is presently seeking a consultant to create a master transit plan at an expected cost of only $500,000.
Puna Councilman Dan Paleka, chair of the county’s Public Safety and Mass Transit Committee, said future plans will include the needs of disabled and elderly passengers.
“We're meeting with stakeholders, and there will be opportunities for public input,” Paleka said. “I'm confident it will be a good plan going forward.”