To beat Uber and Lyft, some taxi companies are trying to become them

To beat Uber and Lyft, some taxi companies are trying to become them
Updated: Sep. 3, 2018 at 5:34 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Taxi companies have been battling ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft for years.

Now, they have a new strategy: If you can't beat them join them.

Dale Evans, president of Charley's Taxi, says her company recently beefed up it own app, which it developed several years ago.

It also applied with the state for a transportation network company license, which will allow its drivers to pick and drop-off at the same locations at Honolulu's airport that the state set aside for Uber and Lyft.

She says the app will allow Charley's to reduce fares on some of its economy vehicles -- which are set by the city -- and adjust prices according to supply and demand.

"Because I can charge a different fare as a TNC, I'm going to make an economy rate. I'm going to have drivers with a lower meter rate," she said. "All of it is cheaper than whatever Uber and Lyft are doing."

Evans added that her app has this advantage: "I think we might be the only cab in town that has the app in Japanese," she said.

But Uber said it's already available in Japanese. And both Uber and Lyft add they not only offer lower prices, but better service and convenience.

Howard Higa, president of The Cab, said his company also developed a rideshare app several years ago. But he doubts that it will give his company an edge over Uber and Lyft. He said it's the rideshare company's predatory pricing that's driving cabs out of business.

"Everybody says you should copy the ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft, come up with the application and compete with them. I cannot compete with the billions of dollars that they're just basically throwing away," said Higa.

Higa said he and other cab companies are asking that the city and state require Uber and Lyft to operate under the same regulations that they do.

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