What’s the solution to airport taxi dilemma?

This is to the lady who wrote to TGI who felt cheated by not being able to hire a cab to take her home from the airport to Lihue, because she felt that the airport taxi drivers would instead want a longer run. I couldn’t quite remember what she really said, but I know it had something to do with taxi drivers only wanting longer and not shorter runs.

If I were a taxi driver, which I am not, I could see why I would want a longer taxi run than a short run to Lihue. There are a lot of taxi drivers at the airport, and everyone and everything is based on a rotations. Imagine this. As a taxi driver, I have waited a while for a call at the taxi shack, and hoping for a long run, I get a call to go to Umi Street or somewhere in Lihue, which would be about a $10 run plus a small tip of probably $2.

The wait, the gas and the time waiting, and the fabulous tip you’d be willing to give, wouldn’t have justified the profit I have just made, nor would it have been worthwhile for me to have taken that run. True, it could be that little money I just made would be something I didn’t have earlier, and I did make $12 on that run.

But wait. I just lost my place in line for that short run, now I must get back in line hoping for a longer run the next time, if the line isn’t too long then. I should have denied the run, but by refusing to take that run, I’d just lost my place in line. Really, a Catch-22. Yes, it is my job to run a taxi, and it is true that I shouldn’t be refusing to take that short run. I work to make money, and short runs may not be profitable, unless I have many short runs, and I am the only one there to make those many short runs.

Many people would like the Uber and the Lyft companies to come in, but because they don’t and won’t pay all those fees the airport taxis pay, although they sneakily come into the airport area, they are not allowed to pick up passengers.

Well then, what would be a good solution? Would a standard flat rate of $20 to Lihue be imposed to the people who’d need a ride be OK?

What do you think, and how do you feel about those taxi drivers not wanting to take those short runs? Aah, that’s their jobs, you’d say. What would your best solution or remedy be? Crazy for me to think this way? No. Just trying to think and express myself as a taxi driver. I hope I am wrong to think this way, but I could also be right.


Ray Domingo is a resident of Hanamaulu.

  1. Natalie Kranjcevich August 20, 2018 5:28 am Reply

    This has always been “the” business dilemma, sorting the profitable components of the product. Many businesses reserve the right to refuse service, ironic that the same people that pledge that statement whine when it is applied to them. Your opinion was well explained and taxi’s will need to recalculate fares, or perish.

  2. kauaiboy August 20, 2018 6:06 am Reply

    Legalize Uber and Lyft pickups at the airport! Get with the times! And current taxi drivers would have to adapt…either work with Uber and Lyft or change jobs. Just because thing “have always been done that way” does not mean that it best serves the public. Some change is good and independant drivers working with ride-share companies is one of the best changes to come our way.

  3. Uncleaina August 20, 2018 6:08 am Reply

    Eliminate any special “airport fees” and bring in Uber and Lyft. See that wasn’t really so hard was it?

  4. gordon oswald August 20, 2018 6:53 am Reply

    Who cares? Taxi drivers will be irrelevant and out of business in 3 to 5 years. Uber, Lyft and the rest, offer much better service, are very reasonably priced and, now that I’ve used them all over the world, I will never call for a Taxi again. Why would anyone?.

  5. Charlie Chimknee August 20, 2018 9:07 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    Ray, in many places in Asia, especially the Philippines, where it’s very affordable, and almost instantly available, you can find a ride in the towns you are in, by just hailing a Tricycle Cab.

    Known as just “Tricycles”, there are so many you can always see many anytime of the day or evening whether you are outside your front door or in front of the store or beach you need a ride home from.

    They are usually a motorcycle with a side car, and some have a rear car, and all of them have roofs and side walls that cover both the driver and all the passengers protecting them from the rain or sun. They are light in weight so they can be used for rides up to the residential areas of the island., some areas may need a stronger motorcycle.

    It is amazing how many there are and how affordable they are and why they are always occupied with 1 or more, even up to 6 passengers. It is amazing !

    They are fun to ride and offer protection from the sun and rain.

    They would be an enormous, in spite of their tinyness, solution to in-town transportation for all Kaua’i towns in order to reduce the amount of cars on the road and prevent parking problems .

    And unlike busses, they pick you up wherever you are, and drop you off wherever you want. All you do is give them a wave or signal by hand, they are small enough to just pull over, and you are on your way.

    Supply and demand would determine how many are needed, and each one would be a tax paying business, and run by a family, or a company that owned many, obviously employing more drivers supporting more families.

    Tourists love them, they’d get that travel feeling of being unique, in a different place, not like where they are from, unless you were from a country already enjoying the same mode of transportation, and you are wondering why they haven’t figured it out to use Tricycles.

    They do not seem appropriate for the Inter-town highways like Kuhio and Kaumualii Haighways, but then that is why they use Vans, another idea whose time has come, instead of the empty busses we have that will only be appropriate when the island’s population is much bigger, and sadly…sadder. And horrible !

    The inter-town transportation issue is immediately solved by vans that could run every 10 to 15 minutes, and cheaper to run on fuel, would employ more, and be more convenient and could stop anywhere where people are waiting and drop them off anywhere along the route. After that the tricycles would take the people to their homes with their groceries and kids. The point is more people would leave their cars at home and lower the traffic problem and increase the convenience of going places.

    What’s the sense of busses that can’t pick you up at home, nor drop you off where you need to go, without walking a mile or a few miles in the rain or sun. Busses are an inconvenience as to time, location, stress, and you can’t bring home more groceries, Tutu, than what you can fit on your lap.

    Busses are, and always will be, a 1/2 baked idea that Kaua’i is still not ready for, until Kauai’s population is massive like Oahu, God forbid…!

    And, besides tourists love tricycles, and the fact that they run every few minutes…not every hour.

    With our huge traffic problem, we need to think small, we need to think outside the box (outside the island), and be innovative using something proven to work already in other transportation need areas. Something that will employ more drivers, 2 for every vehicle for the 2 shifts per day.

    Besides 1/3 of the island already knows how to use them.

    The implementation of them is based on who is in charge of what solves Kaua’i problems, if they are “Nay Sayers” or a “Yay Sayer”. For those that say “leave it the same”, do we still want Traffic Gridlock, do we still want our kids and grandkids camping in the yard and taking a ticket to keep their place in line waiting for the toilet?

    With Tricycles we have a solution to one of our 2 biggest problems.

    We can’t afford to add or enlarge our roads today, and maybe not even for 10 or 20 years to come, we need ideas today for solutions tomorrow, which will increase employment and lower our people’s need for welfare, make more privately owned and motivated businesses owned by local families, not government operated by government hohum, where a paycheck for some is guaranteed and not motivated by performance and perseverance to keep doing better…which is Aloha.

    It seems right, that with the #1 pressing problem on Kaua’i is Traffic, that we have Tricycles and more frequent Vans. Park by a bus stop anytime of the day, except to and from work hour, and see how empty the Kaua’i Busses are, or on Sunday when you have to wait 2 hours, or after hours when you have to walk home at night in the dark to Hanamaulu, Anahola, Kalaheo, Poipu, Hanalei, or Kekaha…and one day even Haena.

    And Tricycles are being built every day, in many styles, in, thanks to Mayor Bernard, our own Kaua’i Sister City…DAVAO CITY, Philippines.

    We already know that Tricycles and Vans are a solution to Traffic Gridlock Problems, it’s not a matter of IF they are a Solution, it is a matter of WHEN…!



  6. I saw a Vampire once August 20, 2018 10:36 am Reply

    Actually, why Not? Taxi drivers have fun, and night jobs too. What’s your career? Politician? Hog wash. Do want makes you happy.

  7. I saw a Vampire once August 20, 2018 10:38 am Reply

    Do what makes you happy. Democracy. Go…Domingo.

  8. I saw a Vampire once August 20, 2018 10:51 am Reply

    Right wing democracy is you Ray. Tradition. Inequality. But kicking ass. More fun than them. Kauai? Think? More fun. Means more heard of. Value is on lifestyle of fun and business.

  9. Connie C. August 20, 2018 12:35 pm Reply

    I definitely understand the situation. I’ve driven for casinos up here in the main land. So those Taxi Drivers are like me & you, trying to make a living! So I understand, but you hit the nail when you said “unless I have many short runs”. Life is about our attitudes, making the best side of a situation, changing of our outlook & attitude. And that’s what I had to do when we drove for the casinos! As a tourist in Kauai, I would not object to your suggestions of “standard flat rate of $20 to Lihue be imposed to the people who’d need a ride be OK?” I would pay it! Taxis are in a way a luxury, & if we go to any of the Hawaiian islands we know we’ll have to pay for good, convenient service!

    1. Connie C. August 20, 2018 12:37 pm Reply

      Forgot to mention. We just rent a car, problem solved for us!!

  10. AVCWBCOACH August 20, 2018 1:04 pm Reply

    70 $ one way to Kalaheo from airport, same as robbery, but leagalized, that is 12 miles folks! The Kauai bus does pick up at the airport if have only carry on, check schedule b4 booking your flight. Better than being held hostage by taxi’s. They try to justify by saying it is more in LA,,,,,,,NOT!

  11. Charlie Chimknee August 20, 2018 5:40 pm Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    One day there will be only Sky Trains rushing over Waialeale and like a roller coaster dropping in a free fall whoosh into the Kalalau and along the coast to Polihale and back to the airport breezing along the entire west and south sides into the airport.

    Route #2 will bend nicely Into the Blue Hole of Waialeale and in front of Makaleha and further along over the top into Hanalei making a top turn slow down dropping in over the water at Hideaways to Anini climbing up in front of King Kong skirting the empty Kuhio Hwy back to the airport…

    We know you just experienced the sky ride and back to Waikiki for dinner, thanks for visiting, Aloha.

    But if you come now you can still sit in the taxi in the traffic.


    Charlie…can’t hold his tongue

  12. alieninkauai August 20, 2018 5:45 pm Reply

    Taxi’s are like old TV sets, technology prevails and the consumer decides. There is no value added to them any more

  13. Charlie Chimknee August 20, 2018 5:47 pm Reply

    …cheaper would be rubber tire Choo Choo Train rides up and back both sides of the island. 10 passenger cars.

    Lots visitors and locals on board enjoying their vacation or a run to the store or work. Name them after the Sugar Haul Cane Trains making Memories That Linger…! ! !

    Doing the future via the past.



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