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As rental car shortage worsens, Hawaii transportation companies see an opportunity

Published: May. 25, 2021 at 5:30 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As visitor arrivals have increased statewide, so has demand for rental cars. And a couple of local businesses are doing their best to provide transportation options.

Typically, Lucky Owl Car Rental in Mapunapuna has at least 170 vehicles on hand.

But as of late, their lot has been empty due to record bookings.

“We’re 400%, 500% booked,” said Lucky Owl Car Rental owner Sava Mankovskiy. “We have very little cars available, the few slots that we have open in between the rentals we try and keep that for interisland or for kamaaina.”

After outlasting the thick of the pandemic, Lucky Owl’s team of seven employees now has no problem filling the calendar.

Mankovskiy says he’s exploring several options to boost supply including reaching out to dealerships, auctions, and private owners, but at a reasonable pace.

“We don’t want to overdo it,” Mankovskiy said. “We’ve grown organically with this island with this community since 2012. We’re doing our very best, but we’re not trying to go crazy with it. We’re gonna keep steadily growing.”

To help meet the surge, transportation executive Cecil Morton just launched the Holoholo mobile app ― the state’s version of Uber and Lyft.

“We are in the black car service and have for years here, shuttle service, shared ride and so now it was time to get into this business, because it’s such a great option,” Morton said. “People love buying transportation from the palm of their hand.”

The local ridesharing app is now on the market after 10 years of development. And with no surge pricing, Morton hopes it becomes the go-to choice for visitors and locals.

“It’s a great opportunity for riders who have limited supply of options because we’re just coming through on this recovery stage from COVID,” Morton explained.

Holoholo is seeking to build its fleet of drivers to 150.

Those interested can apply at driveholoholo.com

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