Car-sharing companies will get dedicated on-street parking spaces and stalls in city parking facilities if a bill introduced this week in the Honolulu City Council is successful.

Bill 65, introduced by Councilman Breene Harimoto, is aimed at encouraging car-sharing companies to enter the Oahu market. Enterprise already has a service on Oahu and car2go, with headquarters in Austin, TX, is looking to enter the market.

Morning traffic on South Beretania at the Punchbowl St. intersection. 1.9.14 ©PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Morning traffic on South Beretania at the Punchbowl St. intersection.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Car-sharing services allow members to rent cars by the minute, hour or day and pick-up and drop-off the vehicles at various locations picked for convenience.

Specifically, the bill authorizes the city’s Department of Transportation Services to dedicate parking spaces to car-sharing companies for annual fees of up to $3,000, which would help compensate the city for lost meter revenue. The cars would receive decals indicating they are exempt from meter fees.

“I think it is the whole new concept of transportation to give various options for people to use as opposed to always having to rely on owning a car,” said Harimoto. “So you can just borrow it when you need to and it is a lot cheaper and more economical and convenient.”

Owning a car in Honolulu can cost about $4,000 a year just in gas, insurance, state fees, maintenance and repairs, according to data from Kelly Blue Book, which assess car values. That doesn’t include the cost to purchase or finance a vehicle.

In addition to the cost, Honolulu has limited parking and some of the worst traffic congestion in the country, spurring transportation advocates to encourage alternate modes of travel. The state and city are currently collaborating on a bike-share program and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has made increasing bike lanes a priority of his administration.

Car-sharing companies have targeted urban populations where driving doesn’t have to be the primary mode of transportation.

Globally, the market for the service, which includes well-known companies such as car2go and Zipcar, as well as university car-sharing fleets and peer-to-peer car sharing, has grown markedly in recent years, according to a report by Navigant Consulting. By 2020, revenue from car-sharing services is expected to grow from $1 billion in 2013 to $6.2 billion by 2020.

Growth has been fueled by increasingly inhospitable driving conditions in cities, as well as the adoption of mobile apps that increase the convenience of car-sharing services, according to the report.

Harimoto was careful to stress that the bill would not apply to Lyft and UberX, also referred to as car-sharing companies, which launched on Oahu in June. Those companies operate similarly to taxi companies.

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