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Car Sharing Coming to Honolulu

GoToVan from Vancouver, Canada
Evo Car Sharing

It has been less than two months since Biki – Honolulu’s bike sharing business launched. And now, a car sharing business is set to launch in Kaka‘ako by the end of the year. HPR’s Ku’uwehi Hiraishi has this story.

For the past month, employees at Servco Pacific have been testing out a car sharing program at their M?punapuna headquarters. Thor Toma is Servco’s Senior Vice President of Projects and New Initiatives.

Credit Servco Pacific, Inc.

“Sure, you know I’ve used it. In fact I used it today to run to a meeting and back and I’ve used it multiple times as well as multiple employees,” says Toma, “The feedback that we’re getting is it’s reliable and simple.”

Car sharing can be attractive to commuters who may only use cars occasionally, allowing them to save on the cost of ownership. Car sharing pilots have proven successful in cities like Baltimore, San Francisco, and Seattle.

“Car share is really a short-term vehicle rental,” says Toma, “It really allows consumers simplicity, convenience and freedom to use a vehicle when they need to use a vehicle.”

Credit Servco Pacific, Inc.

Servco partnered with Toyota Connect to bring this car sharing program to urban Honolulu by the end of the year. Once employee testing is complete, the program will launch in Kaka’ako with 20 Prius vehicles located around residential buildings. Toma explains how it works.

Credit Casey Nishimura / Servco Pacific, Inc.
Servco Pacific, Inc.
Screenshot of the mobile car sharing application being piloted by employees at Servco Pacific, Inc.

“Reserve a car digitally with their mobile device. Locate the vehicle with their mobile device. Unlock and start the car with their mobile device,” says Toma, “And really they don’t have to interact with someone to make a reservation. They don’t need special keys or passes. Everything is really through the convenience of their mobile device, which of course all of us, use and depend on every day.”

For a company in car sales, a car sharing business seems counterproductive. But this mobile technology platform will allow Toyota Connect to collect and analyze data such as traffic patterns and driver behavior, which in the end could benefit both customers and car dealers. Toma says no prices have yet been set. 

Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi is a general assignment reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Her commitment to her Native Hawaiian community and her fluency in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi has led her to build a de facto ʻōiwi beat at the news station. Send your story ideas to her at khiraishi@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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