Uber, Lyft riding high with rule change

LIHUE — Uber and Lyft are cheering a state change that will make them eligible, as of Feb. 1, to pick up passengers at Neighbor Island airports, including in Lihue.

“We’re thrilled to be expanding Lyft’s operations to our Neighbor Island airports,” said Rob Mora, Lyft spokesman.

“We applaud the Hawaii Department of Transportation’s decision to allow rideshare pickups at Neighbor Island airports,” said Nathan Hambley, Uber spokesman.

The new rules allowing Uber and Lyft to pick up passengers at the airport is another blow for Kauai taxi companies, which expressed worries about the arrival of the ride-sharing companies in 2017.

Then, some taxi drivers pointed out they have to pay taxes and fees, which drive up their operating costs. Uber and Lyft, some said, create unfair competition because they don’t have to pay those same taxes and fees and can charge lower fares, thus taking away customers from taxi services.

Amended administrative rules went into effect Aug. 24, allowing tansportation network companies to apply for permits from HDOT. The rules were approved by Gov. David Ige following public hearings held around the state in May and June.

This was the first time the rules for commercial services at airports had been amended since 2002, before TNCs came into being.

“The transportation network companies have been well-received by the public at HNL, and we are pleased to offer the option to Neighbor Island travelers,” said HDOT Airports Division Deputy Director Ross Higashi Thursday.

HDOT has established designated ride-share pick-up locations at Kahului Airport, Lihue Airport, Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole, Hilo International Airport and Kapalua Airport.

These Hawaii airports join more than 350 airports across the U.S. and Canada offering Lyft rideshare services.

TNCs began operating at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on a trial basis Dec. 1, 2017, and on a permanent basis Aug. 24.

TNCs must meet specific insurance requirements as specified by state law, pay associated fees and satisfy other requirements prior to being issued permits to operate at the airports.

Hambley said Uber was good news for Maui, Kauai and Big Island Uber drivers, as well as residents and visitors.

Lyft will now have a designated pick-up location at Lihue Airport.

“We’re thankful to the HDOT team for their collaboration, and we look forward to providing a great rider and driver experience at all the included airports,” Mora said.


Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or bbuley@thegardenisland.com.

  1. tom mc January 25, 2019 9:40 am Reply

    I can understand why the taxi companies are worried at how the Uber and Lyft will impact them but as a consumer why suldI have to pay out a higher fare when I can get to where I want much cheaper. On Kauai there isn’t enough Taxi’s at times to service everyone. There is nothing stopping these drivers to becoming Uber and Lyft drivers themselves. Last time I was in Bangkok I got an Uber that pulled up in a Taxi Cab. They are staying more busy than ever.

  2. jeff allen January 25, 2019 10:12 am Reply

    This is the biggest screw over of local business ever. All because Lyft and Uber lobbyests stuff the pockets of local and state politicians with there billions of dollars. They just completely ignore why taxi permits were created in the first place. Taxi permits were originally created to keep mega corporations from doing what UBER is doing now. That is, Dumping billions of venture capital money to artificially drive down transportation prices in an effort to illegally and unfairly drive out competition. They lost 1 biilion dollars last quarter alone, look it up. with all the shenanigans this company has done repeatedly . There management should be prosecuted for RICO statutes. Also UBER & Lyft drivers make on the average $3.37 per hour according to an article from MIT, Google it “MIT 337” it will come right up. Hawaii used to protect small local businesses.

  3. OMG Watnow January 25, 2019 12:54 pm Reply

    2018 Kauai County Council were to introduce a bill regarding Uber & Lyft operations to match the requirements as a taxi company. This would be an equality as requirements. . . .but instead, Derek became Mayor, and Mel retired and guess what, became an Uber driver. Where’s the fairness that was told to the Taxi companies (written test to be a licensed taxi driver, obtain a taxi driver’s permit, obtain criminal background check and cleared with traffic violations. No more than 4 moving violation in a three year period and drive a license taxicab with a certified taxi meter). These are County of Kauai Kauai Taxicab Ordinance (Title IX BUSINESS AND TRADES
    Chapter 23 REGULATION OF BUSINESS AND TRADES Article 1- Taxicabs)

  4. Rio Silver January 30, 2019 7:41 pm Reply

    Uber and Lyft are scab taxis, and the people who want to use them get what they pay for. But, it really is terrible that the county and state allows the TNC’s to operate without having the same fees/requirements as other transportation providers. And the only argument the TNC companies come up with is to deregulate the taxis ?!? Really with this mentality what’s next ,,,Uber Doctors and Lawyers ? ,, I can see it now no need for law school Or Med school anymore,,,,i am gonna call the Uber doctor to get my pain meds! What’s he got to lose he never got a permit to be a doctor in the first place he will give me what I want and cheap!

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