Caldwell veto of bill to cap surge pricing reframes issue
Star-Adv June 20, 2018
...Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s veto Tuesday of a City Council bill to cap how much Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services can charge during peak hours reframes the dilemma of how to meld old-school taxi regulations with new smartphone apps.
Caldwell said at a news conference that rather than require ride-hailing drivers to abide by long-held taxi rules, cabbies should be freed from their constraints and allowed to operate like their Uber and Lyft counterparts.
A new bill that’s being drafted by Corporation Counsel Donna Leong will be forwarded to the Council by the end of the week, the mayor said. Passengers will be able to choose either a per-mile fare system now used by cab companies or a pricing system that discloses upfront how much will be paid, as is used by the Uber and Lyft models.
The new bill “will level the playing field and allow transportation companies to do whatever they want as long as there’s (upfront price) disclosure and as long as the public’s protected,” Caldwell said. “The consumer determines what model they want to adopt and what vehicle they want to get into.”
The fight over the vetoed bill, which would make Honolulu the first municipality in the U.S. to require limits on surge pricing, is far from over. The focus now switches back to the Council, which voted 6-3 on June 6 to approve Bill 35….
Six votes are needed to override the mayor’s veto and make the bill a law, so Caldwell needs at least one of the six Council members who voted for the bill to change direction and go against it for the veto to stand.
Of the six who voted yes, Ikaika Anderson and Trevor Ozawa said they were doing so with reservations. The others who supported the bill were Carol Fukunaga, Ann Kobayashi, Ernie Martin and Kymberly Pine. The three “no” votes came from Brandon Elefante, Joey Manahan and Ron Menor.
Anderson said he wants to review Caldwell’s veto message before making a decision….
read … Caldwell veto of bill to cap surge pricing reframes issue
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Mayor vetoes Bill 35 relating to private transportation companies
News Release from Office of the Mayor June 19, 2018
Honolulu – Mayor Kirk Caldwell today vetoed Bill 35 (2018), CD1, FD1, which mandated a cap on fares for both taxis and Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Lyft and Uber, including surge pricing. In addition, the mayor discussed the concepts behind a new bill to be introduced in a few days that would simplify the city’s regulation of fares for taxicab companies and Transportation Network Companies by requiring disclosure of any total ride fare in advance, and by allowing the customer to accept or reject the ride.
“I support both models, traditional taxis and Transportation Network Companies like Lyft and Uber,” said Mayor Caldwell. “The proposed legislation levels the playing field by generally allowing both taxis and TNC’s the ability to set their rates without government regulation provided they disclose the price of the total fare before the customer accepts the ride.
“I also recognize that taxis may prefer to stay with their current taximeter model, and that some customers may also prefer the traditional taxi ride, in which case, the customer does not know the total fare until the end of the ride. In that model, the Department of Customer Services will continue to set the maximum ‘all-in’ fare per mile.”
The new bill will be introduced by the City Council on behalf of the administration once it’s finalized.
The major concepts of the new bill are as follows:
- Advance disclosure by all Transportation Network Companies and taxicab companies of the total ride fare, which includes the base fare, any surge pricing (including for time delays), and all other fees and charges (including baggage fees and taxes);
- For taxicabs continuing to use traditional taximeters; the Director of Customer Services will set the maximum “all-in” per mile rate that includes the base fare, any surge pricing, and all other fees and charges; and
- Company identification on the vehicle to inform the public the vehicle is certified by the Transportation Network Company or the taxicab company.
If passed into law, the new bill would protect public ridership by:
- Requiring disclosure in writing of the total ride fare of a ride for all Transportation Network Companies and for taxicab companies that choose to use an app or to book online in advance before a passenger accepts or rejects the ride, and requiring disclosure of the maximum “all-in” rate per mile that can be charged via a taximeter as set by the Director of Customer Services, both of which include the base fare, any surge pricing, and any other fees or charges;
- Allowing such disclosure either through a smartphone app, or a written notice posted inside the vehicle;
- Continuing to require Private Transportation Company identifiers that can be viewed from the front right and back left of the vehicle. For taxis, the traditional dome sign with the company name will continue to be permitted; and
- Repealing the existing Chapter 12, Article 1 of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu (ROH), which governs taxicabs, and Article 6, which governs Private Transportation Companies (PTCs) that includes both taxis and TNCs. Also, consolidating and simplifying all of the regulations governing taxicabs and TNCs under a new Article 1.
Bill 35 (2018), CD1, FD1 was passed by the Honolulu City Council by a vote of 6-3 on June 6. Mayor Caldwell’s veto message to the City Council is attached.
*Note: Companies like Lyft and Uber are called Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), while Taxicabs and TNC’s together are called Private Transportation Companies (PTCs).