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 email@example.com.