City Council deferral gives ride-sharing companies reprieve

Published: Mar. 30, 2016 at 11:01 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 31, 2016 at 5:16 AM HST
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Sheri Kajiwara (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Sheri Kajiwara (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Ann Kobayashi (In pink) Image: Hawaii News Now
Ann Kobayashi (In pink) Image: Hawaii News Now
Testifier (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Testifier (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Image: Hawaii News Now
Image: Hawaii News Now

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft got a major victory at the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday.

A bill that would have forced ride-sharing companies to be regulated like taxi cabs, potentially putting them out of business, was deferred until April 27.

Council leaders say they are committed to making sure both business models survive, and are looking to the city to resolve the conflict.

"Council member, I sense your frustration and I do feel frustrated as well," said Sheri Kajiwara, Department of Customer Services Director.

"But I do need to wait for this committee to make a decision because I had asked for a deferment to allow me to start a work group, but that was denied, and today's critical because if you pass today's bill there would be no sense for me to start a work group."

Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi responded, "No one on this committee has denied you a working group and I don't think we ever would, we welcome any kind of input.

Councilman Trevor Ozawa also added, "I was expecting you to meet with both sides. I mean they're both definitely passionate about their positions."

Supporters of ride-sharing companies say they aren't taxi cabs and shouldn't be treated like them.

"Technology is the best thing that has happened to us. These ride-sharing apps are fantastic, these cab companies are way behind," said one testifier, who is blind.

Another said, "My cab experiences compared to my TNT's are pretty much night and day. I've been cheated many times on cabs, with drivers thinking that just because I'm blind, I don't know that they're turning left when going right would have been faster.:

But cab companies say ride-sharing apps should be subject to same rules as they are.

"If you look at the definition of a ride share, that is carpool, van-pool, to relieve the traffic, you're not getting paid for it. If you look at a taxicab, the definition is you're transporting from point A to point B, getting paid for it, we're doing the same thing," a taxi driver said.

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