Heads up, travelers: State extends ridesharing pilot at Honolulu's airport

Updated: Feb. 23, 2018 at 11:00 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two popular ridesharing companies will be allowed to pick up passengers at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport for another six months.

Uber and Lyft were banned from the airport until December, when the state Department of Transportation started a three-month trial program to see how the companies would mix with other ground transportation services, such as taxicabs.

Since then, the two companies have provided more than 50,000 pickups at the airport. The DOT said the additional transportation option benefits passengers and the traveling public, and that the increased competition raises the overall standards of the ground transportation industry.

Many have found the ridesharing convenient, using a smartphone app to order a ride, find out the price, and to pay with a pre-stored credit card.

"They're ready when you are," said Uber user Waynette Kwon. "It took me five minutes to order while I was getting my bag, it was super easy, fast pickup."

Out of state visitors we spoke to weren't even aware that Uber and Lyft were relatively new at HNL. For them, ridesharing has always been an option.

"Uber, we always use that for all our vacations, even just in the city, just going out, Uber's always a good choice for us," said Tom Phomsavanh. He and a group of friends had just arrived from Wisconsin for their first-ever visit to Hawaii.

In a statement, Tabatha Chow, Uber's senior operations manager in Hawaii, said, "We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from riders and drivers, so we will continue to work closely with the Department of Transportation and airport staff to ensure Uber has a permanent home at HNL." 

The six-month extension also has rideshare drivers smiling.

"It's very good news, we hope the Uber drivers all happy," said Louis Rivera, who's been an Uber driver for four years. "It can help a lot of the tourists, take them to Waikiki and all over. Very good income."

But taxi cab drivers say that income has been taken from their pockets. They say Uber and Lyft are unfair competition, since their drivers don't have to pay the same permits and insurance that they do.
The state said it will use the six months to work out rules that could make the ridesharing pickups permanent at the airport.

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