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Honolulu City Council: Ride Sharing Technology

Wayne Yoshioka

The Honolulu City Council is attempting to get ahead of rapidly evolving transportation technology.  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.   





Credit Wayne Yoshioka
DTS deputy director, John Nouchi

Ride Sharing technology -- cars, bikes and scooters -- compete for public parking and sidewalk space.  Two-wheeled bikes and electric scooters can also be docked or undocked…adding to the confusion.  City Department of Transportation Services deputy director, John Nouchi, says developing regulatory guidelines for these transportation options is tough.


“I learned yesterday that Santa Monica as 32-hundred scooters from two providers that are dispersed in just the city of Santa Monica area and extending down into Venice.  And, I was looking at some of the usage maps for that and we have to be ready for that.”


Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Rose Pou, Kapahulu, opposes alternative transportation measures

The Honolulu City Council Budget Committee has postponed action on a resolution for 4 months that would allow for a pilot project for dock-less bikes and scooters.  It’s also advancing a bill to promote alternative transportation modes.   Rose Pou, from Kapahulu, opposes both measures.


“I’m blind.  I try to walk on the sidewalk and I run into bikes.  I’ve run into the skateboards.  They come up behind me and they flip ‘em on me.  All the new technology that’s coming, you gotta limit it because there just not safe for the disabled.”


But, multi-modal transportation options are rapidly changing.  Tabitha Chow, senior operations manager for mobile app ride-hailing company Uber in Hawai’I, says the company recently acquired “Jump,” a dock-less bike-sharing company that’s replacing cars for shorter trips.


Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Uber-Hawaii senior operations manager, Tabitha Chow

“We have launched partnerships in 9 cities in the U.S.  We have noticed a large shift within the app and we’re cannibalizing our use for shorter distance trips but –you know – it’s less profitable for us but it makes sense.  It’s what people want and it’s what’s best for the environment and we do think that it’s a good thing.”


Budget Committee Chair, Trevor Ozawa, says it’s unlikely that lawmakers will ever catch up with the technology or personal preferences.  At least in the short term.


Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Honolulu City Council Budget Committee chair, Trevor Ozawa

“This is all part of an evolution in transportation and it’s all moving towards a system of a driverless pod.  Autonomous.  There is technology out there where there’s inward-facing seats in these vehicles – driverless – and it gets you from point A to point B, safely.    I seriously think that’s what it’s about.”


For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka.

Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Dockless Electric Scooters. Next?

Wayne Yoshioka
Wayne Yoshioka is an award-winning journalist who has worked in television, print and radio in Hawaiʻi. He also has been on both sides of politics as a state departmental appointee and political/government reporter. He covered Hurricane Iwa (1982) as a TV reporter; was the State Department of Defense/Civil Defense spokesperson for Hurricane Iniki (1992); and, commanded a public affairs detachment in Afghanistan (2006). He has a master's degree in Communication from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is a decorated combat veteran (Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and 22 other commendation/service medals). He resides in Honolulu.
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