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With carsharing sites, residents capitalize on statewide shortage of rental cars

Published: May. 31, 2021 at 11:21 AM HST|Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 11:24 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The shortage in rental cars is proving a boon to some residents, who are shopping out their personal vehicles on popular carsharing websites.

Kahili Kaiheiwalu Tianio said she started listing her new car through one such website, Turo, and saw instant success.

She said it all started in March when her dad asked if she could help his friend find a rental car. Tianio said the rental companies she reached out to were all booked until June.

Seeing the shortage as an opportunity, Tianio posted her brand-new car on Turo at a rate of $51 a day.

She said in about 12 hours, her car was completely booked out all the way through January.

Tianio said while the business is profitable, it also allows her to show the aloha spirit to Hawaii visitors.

“The fact that I can host a stranger and make their vacation just a little better kind of makes me feel proud about a business like this,” said Tianio. “So, now we’re talking about a warehouse and a wash bay and an office.”

“And then of course, for my kids, you know, everybody will ask what the main reason is, and my main reason is for my babies,” added Tianio.

Tianio said Turo allows renters to offer certain amenities that rental car companies don’t normally offer like beach chairs and coolers. She said she offers car seats and booster chairs.

According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the state’s rental fleet dropped more than 40% during the pandemic. They, too, are looking for ways to provide transportation for visitors.

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