Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has decided to allow a bill to regulate ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to go into law without his signature, and said in a press release that he hopes the City Council will work with his administration to amend it this fall.

The measure requires licensing and background checks for drivers employed at both taxi companies and ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft. The proposal sparked months of debate at Honolulu Hale, and ultimately passed on August 3 following an emotional day of testimony from taxi and Uber employees alike.

Uber Application in Hawaii
Honolulu taxi drivers say the Uber application has hurt their business. Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Caldwell said he supports the intent of the measure, but that there’s not enough time to put administrative rules in place. He also noted that the bill would require Uber and Lyft drivers to undergo background checks that review the past seven years, while taxi drivers are only required to receive two-year background checks.

“This creates an unleveled playing field between certain taxicab drivers and (transportation network company) drivers,” he said in a press release. “I am in support of a seven year national background check for taxicab drivers and TNC drivers for the public safety, but I am also aware that the provisions relating to criminal background checks must be consistent with constitutional principles.”

He plans to submit proposed amendments to the bill in time to be considered at the Council meeting on October 5.

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