A Honolulu rail tour company is refusing to provide tours to the Oahu State Capitol unless Honolulu Police Department officers are present.
The Oahu City Council voted Monday to ban the city from issuing private rail operator permits.
The ordinance prohibits permits from being issued to any entity that is not an official member of the city government, and any operator who does not obtain a permit is subject to a fine of up to $250,000.
A private rail company could not have a permit issued to it unless it is a member of a governing body, such as the City Council, said Kenji Fujii, a spokesperson for the company, Kona Express.
“The City of Honolulu has been very clear with the public and our customers that we are not going to issue any permits to any person who is not a member or a representative of the City of Hawaii,” Fujii said.
He did not respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
The council’s decision came after the Honolulu Police Association asked the council to ban police officers from issuing permits to rail operators, saying the ordinance would result in a loss of business.
The association cited the incident in March when Oahu police arrested a man after he used a bike lock to keep the doors open on a train to avoid arrest.
The man was later charged with trespassing and released without charge.
A spokesperson for Honolulu Police Chief John Horne, who is also a member, said he has “serious concerns” about the new ordinance.
“I don’t think it is the best use of resources and manpower,” Horne said.
“We are working to work through the issues to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
A spokesperson from the City Attorney’s Office said the department will continue to work with the Police Association and other stakeholders on how to address the issue.
Oahu Public Utilities has also taken steps to ensure that its customers don’t need permits to use the city’s rail system.
The utility is planning to add a new section in its mobile app to ensure customers can see the map on their smartphones.
OPU will also add a notification to its mobile apps that the permit system will not be valid on city property, according to a release.
“All of our customers, whether they are using the rail system or not, have a right to know what is going on with their water and sewer services,” said OPU spokesperson Kevin O’Connor.
“There is nothing in the City Code that prohibits the city or OPU from issuing the permits we need to carry out our business.
We are working with the city to ensure our customers are aware of this.”
The Honolulu police association says the ordinance does not go far enough to protect the public.
“It’s not just the police.
The public is affected,” association president and CEO John P. Daley said.
The mayor’s office says OPU has been working with city officials to develop a “fair and equitable solution” to the issue, which will be presented to the city council at a meeting in January.
A spokesperson for Mayor Kirk Caldwell did not immediately return a request from The Daily Signal for comment.