Taxi companies blast 'ride-sharing' outfits

Taxi companies blast 'ride-sharing' outfits
Your eyes aren't deceiving you. There are more automobiles on Oahu streets sporting the pink mustache, the signature for Lyft.

"Lyft self-regulates immensely. Lyft has come in at lower prices. But the drivers make more money," Levi Fay said.

Fay has been a Lyft contractor since June. He carries passengers in his personal car and gets paid for it. But he's not a taxi driver, and he's not regulated by any government body.

"As we look at regulation, you look at how we are and how we operate, and that is that we're not exactly a taxi company and not exactly a common carrier as regulated by the PUC," said Lyft attorney Chrystn Eads

Traditional cab companies feel Lyft and Uber Honolulu ignore the rules that regulate motor carriers.

"These operators are not licensed and there's no accountability for their operations," Charley's Taxi president Dale Evans said.

"If it's not an equal playing field, then the companies that abide by the rules, it's unfair for them because we have huge expenses," said Howard Higa, president of the TheCab.

Lyft and Uber are ride-sharing companies. Both undercut cab fares. Customers book rides through smart phone apps, then get billed to their credit cards.

"When evaluating this new innovation, it's important to understand that ride-sharing in its current form is just the beginning of the potential transportation alternatives," Uber Honolulu general manager Brian Hughes said.

Uber and Lyft told the Honolulu City Council's Transportation Committee they want to create a new classification called Transportation Network Companies.

"It's not only about competition. There are very important laws that are at stake," Evans said.

"They're just bullying their way into this market. That to me is ludicrous," Higa said.

"The cab companies are not going to be able to remove us because it's what the people want," Fay said.

Uber is an international firm. Lyft operates in about 70 cities. Both are growing in Honolulu.

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