Cab companies, council members discuss background checks

Should criminal background checks go back further than two years?

The topic was raised in 2007, but nothing ever happened.

Today, it’s a different story. Cab companies are raising questions once again after two women claimed they were sexually assaulted by a cab driver.

On Thursday, several owners met with a Honolulu City Council hearing committee to discuss what they call a concerning issue.

“Customers don’t have a chance to do criminal checks or find out who their drivers are,” said Dale Evans, owner of Charley’s Taxi.

After KHON2’s story highlighted concerns about background checks that only go back two years, both sides are now sitting down to discuss the issue.

“In the past, we didn’t come to the council. We were stuck at the Department of Customer Service,” Evans said.

“I believe the movement toward some sort of change is because of the report from your station,” said Howard Higa, owner, The Cab.

While no decisions were made Thursday, some council members agree that this is an issue that needs to be looked at more closely, especially since it deals with the safety of the public.

“I think there were some very good points that were brought up and my primary concern is always the safety of the public,” said council member Breene Harimoto.

The committee will take up the issue again at its next meeting and that will hopefully lead to some answers.

“I think the concerns raised today warrant some further action and we will look into what can be done either administratively or through ordinance,” Harimoto said.

The continued discussion leaves cab companies a little more optimistic than in past years.

“I’m glad the council is taking heed to what the companies are saying. That is what we want,” Higa said.

A member from HPD was also at the meeting and he said the department only goes back two years because that’s what’s specified in the current ordinance.

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