Uber, Lyft facing tougher restrictions in Hawaii

Download the app, press a button and then wait for your ride to pick you up. That’s basically how ride sharing companies like Lyft and UBER work.

KHON2 spoke to the general manager of UBER Hawaii who says its drivers go through a lengthy background check.

“UBER X is the ride sharing product so this is where everyday people take their vehicles get it screened after a vehicle inspection process and then subject themselves to a personal background check going back seven years,” said Brian Hughes, UBER Hawaii general manager.

UBER has been on Oahu since July 2013, but now state lawmakers are looking to put more regulations on the fairly new business, as well as other transportation network companies.

Senate Bill 1280 is a measure to create a level playing field for the transportation network companies and the more traditional modes of transportation,” said Senator Rosalyn Baker. The more traditional modes of transportation being cabs, shuttles and limousines,right now they are regulated by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, but ride-sharing companies are not regulated by the PUC.

“This is one way of creating that level playing field for all the motor carriers in the state that are regulated by the PUC,” said Senator Baker. Lawmakers also want to make sure that drivers and passengers are safe.

KHON2 checked with UBER and they told us they provide $1 million in liability coverage.

“Right now the way the bill is written it does not fully appreciate how robust this insurance package is and it would actually put an end to ride sharing as we know it in Hawaii,” said Hughes, but Senator Baker says that’s not the goal. “This is not trying to kill UBER that’s not the gist of the matter we just want consumers to be protected we want to allow others that are working the space to be able to continue as well.”

UBER says they are hopeful both sides can come to a reasonable conclusion.

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