Thursday, June 21, 2018

Honolulu leaders to vote on 1st ride-hailing price cap in US

HONOLULU (AP) — Honolulu leaders planned to vote Wednesday on a measure limiting prices that ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft can charge during peak demand, a cap that the companies say would be the first restriction of its kind in the United States.

The measure would prevent "surge pricing" if increased rates are higher than the maximum fare set by the city. Uber sent emails to customers across the island of Oahu, which is where the rule would apply, urging them to oppose the rules that would impose "outdated taxi-style requirements on rideshare."

Oahu taxi drivers have been at odds with those who drive for mobile apps that connect riders with nearby drivers. Taxi companies complain that companies such as Uber and Lyft create an unfair playing field because they face fewer restrictions.

David Jung, owner of EcoCab Hawaii wrote in testimony supporting the measure that it's wrong to allow companies to set prices without city control.

Robert Deluze, owner of Roberts Taxis, said Uber and Lyft used surge pricing during pickups for military members coming off the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Bonhomme Richard, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported last month. Military members paid as much as $221 to get from Pearl Harbor to Waikiki, he said, while the maximum taxi meter rate was $44 or less.

In a fact sheet, Uber said surge pricing gives drivers the incentive to work in busier areas, which lowers wait times for riders and ensures reliability.

Riders and drivers who submitted testimony opposing the measure said taxis aren't as reliable or affordable as ride-hailing companies.

Uber driver Lisa Gonzales wrote that she drives to help support her family of six. During surge pricing, passengers have the option to accept or reject costs.

"There is a need for more drivers in one area causing the price to increase during a certain time, or they can wait for the price to decrease when the need for drivers lessens," she wrote. "It is based on supply and demand. Mostly, what the consumer wants to pay."

Uber and Lyft officials testified in City Council committees last month that the cap on surge pricing would be the first such restriction on the companies in the country, the Honolulu newspaper reported.

Tabatha Chow, Uber's senior operations manager for Hawaii, would likely be testifying Wednesday, a spokesman said in an email.

"When demand for rides is greater than the number of drivers on the road, passengers may pay an extra percentage on top of the base ride amount," Lyft said in a statement explaining its "Prime Time" pricing.

A $6 ride would become a $9 ride during Prime Time pricing of 50 percent, the statement said, adding that it "only adds a percentage to the ride subtotal, which is calculated before any other fees or additional amounts."

Council Chairman Ernie Martin said he wrote the measure to ensure consumers won't pay an "unreasonable price." He said companies will still be able to employ surge pricing — or as he prefers to call it, "predatory pricing" — within limits.

If council members approve the measure, city attorneys will review it before it goes to the mayor. Mayor Kirk Caldwell would have 10 days to sign it into law, allow it to become law without his signature or veto it.

Comments
Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

OMAHA, Neb. — JJ Schwarz hit a two-run homer and Florida built enough cushion to survive Texas Tech's six-run outburst over the seventh and eighth innings to eliminate the Red Raiders from the College World Series with a 9-6 win Thursday night....
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Michelle Obama discusses new memoir at library conference

Michelle Obama discusses new memoir at library conference

Former first lady Michelle Obama will discuss her upcoming memoir "Becoming" as she kicks off the American Library Association's annual conference in New Orleans
Updated: 1 hour ago
Brooklyn Nets select Dzanan Musa with 29th pick.

Brooklyn Nets select Dzanan Musa with 29th pick.

The Brooklyn Nets continued their rebuilding process in the NBA draft Thursday night, going selecting Dzanan Musa with the 29th overall pick
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hawks acquire point guard Trae Young in swap of top-5 picks

Hawks acquire point guard Trae Young in swap of top-5 picks

Hawks acquire new floor leader for rebuilding effort by acquiring point guard Trae Young, focus on outside shooters in the draft
Updated: 1 hour ago

Indonesian court sentences radical cleric who instigated 2016 suicide bombing at a Starbucks, other attacks to death

Indonesian court sentences radical cleric who instigated 2016 suicide bombing at a Starbucks, other attacks to death
Updated: 1 hour ago

Thunder take Hall with 53rd pick, Hervey with 57th

Thunder take Hall with 53rd pick, Hervey with 57th
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hornets land Miles Bridges, Devonte Graham in NBA draft

Hornets land Miles Bridges, Devonte Graham in NBA draft

The Charlotte Hornets wound up with small forward Miles Bridges from Michigan State in the first round after a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Asian stocks down as multiple trade disputes worry investors

Asian stocks down as multiple trade disputes worry investors

Asian stocks are trading lower as investors were still wary over global trade disputes between China and the U.S. as well as between the U.S. and Europe that could hurt corporate profit and jobs
Updated: 1 hour ago

Heat make no picks in NBA draft for second time in 3 years

The Miami Heat didn't have any picks in the NBA draft for second time in 3 years
Updated: 1 hour ago
Spurs draft Miami guard Lonnie Walker, USC big man Metu

Spurs draft Miami guard Lonnie Walker, USC big man Metu

The San Antonio Spurs picked shooting guard Lonnie Walker IV of Miami with the 18th overall pick in the NBA Draft
Updated: 1 hour ago