Honolulu Council OK's Bills Establishing Fees For Transportation Companies Using City Property

Sep 5, 2019

The Honolulu City Council is hoping to get ahead of the curve when it comes to regulating transportation rental companies. Councilmembers heard testimony for two bills that would establish fees and areas where companies can leave their shared rentals.

Bill 43 would establish a fee for companies, such as Biki and Enterprise CarShare, to use city properties.

This comes after several councilmembers asked whether Bikeshare Hawaii is paying to use parking stalls and sidewalk space for their docks. Biki and the City have an agreement to use public property for free under a pilot program.

"We continue to lose parking revenue for the stalls that we were formerly generating fees for," said Council Chair Ikaika Anderson, who introduced the bill. "And I believe that it is fair to ask Biki, and any other mobility company -- nonprofit or not -- that is utilizing public space to pay something."

One testifier expressed his concerns that the proposed fee would raise the cost of using Biki to consumers. 

Bill 44 would also allow companies with small rental vehicles -- such as electric scooters and motorized skateboards -- to reserve parking stalls and other areas for a fee. 

Both residents and community groups expressed their concerns with the  measure, specifically safety and sidewalk accessibility.

"There's no training required to rent these things," said Winston Welch, executive director of the Outdoor Circle. "There are no helmets that these folks have to use when they're riding these things. They don't have any insurance personally required no these.

"And the city's going to have to pay for this stuff eventually. If there's a chunk in the road, if there is a scooter left out, and someone trips on that because the city hasn't come and ticketed to have that removed."

Bills 43 and 44 passed second reading at the yesterday's full council meeting, and will be discussed later this month in committee.