During my mayoral run I visited the Barbers Point dock of TheBoat but since the service is so slow, I did not have the time to leave my car there in order to personally test it and time it. However, both the Star Bulletin and Grassroot Institute have done so and the latter also analyzed TheBoat's costs.
During the mayoral debate I confronted the incumbent mayor with TheBoat as a fine sample of irresponsible public administration. His answer was a spin that alternatives are needed. In his book, alternatives that cost five times more than TheBus or TheCar and take twice as long for door-to-door service are worthy of a $40 to $60 subsidy per trip. Indeed it is sad that people with disregard for responsibility and accountability are elected.
If you wish to read a recent short but comprehensive appraisal of TheBoat go here: http://www.grassrootinstitute.org/Publications/BoatToNowhere_0908.pdf
The effect of the TheBoat is to remove up to two buses per hour from the H-1 freeway which carries over 11,000 vehicles per hour in the peaks. And for that we pay $5 million per year!
But on a positive note, a Kailua couple has posted elsewhere, that TheBoat is the world's best ocean cruise: Only two bucks for an one hour long ocean cruise with decent food aboard, tons of empty seats to choose from and free wi-fi. Those who take it are hopefully grateful to the rest of us for subsidizing over 95% of the cost of their ocean cruise.
If one wishes to use the ocean as a cost-effective medium to reduce traffic congestion, then I point you to our University of Hawaii Congestion Study: http://www.eng.hawaii.edu/~panos/UHCS_ES5.pdf
The Pearl Harbor Car Ferry system is defined as a service with two or three large barges with four outboard engines and a crew of three people that transport cars and buses with their passengers staying inside them across the mouth of Pearl Harbor. The trip would take about 5 to 6 minutes but the short-cut in trip length is major. This system is tailored to Kapolei, Ewa and Ewa Beach areas and is designed with a 500 vehicle per hour capacity.
If such a ferry service is provided for $2 per car per trip, then the travel time from Ewa to downtown can be reduced from 65 minutes to about 37 minutes, or by 44%.
The ferry option provides a substantial relief for 500 vehicles per hour or nearly 1,000 people per hour. It is therefore highly advisable that the ineffective, unreliable and expensive TheBoat is replaced by TheFerry which can be operated daily between 5:30 to 8:30 AM, and 3:30 to 6:30 PM by a private licensed water taxi or similar contractor.