Uber Bills

City doesn’t understand the taxi business

Your July 16 story “Honolulu Cab Companies ‘Discouraged’ By Caldwell Pricing Proposals” makes me question whether the city has even a basic understanding of the taxi business.

The story states Bill 44, submitted by Mayor Caldwell, would “give taxi companies more freedom with fares and allow them to charge a flat rate” like Uber.

Taxi companies have for years charged a flat rate between various destinations, including Waikiki and the airport. And our flat rates stay flat. Uber and Lyft surge their “flat” rates to a higher plateau several times a day.

Caldwell spokesperson Andrew Pereira refers to taxi meters as a “de facto form of surge pricing.” That’s a false equivalency. Surge pricing, unlike taxi meters, drives rates four and even five times higher.

In an Orwellian turn of phrase, Uber’s senior operations manager speaks of the company’s focus on “affordability, reliability and convenience for riders.” 

Uber is wildly unaffordable during surge periods, when fares from Waikiki to the airport can total hundreds of dollars. Uber’s reliability is suspect since drivers can cancel a fare that doesn’t suit them.

As for convenience, unless you carry a smartphone and a credit card, you won’t be using Uber.

— Dale Evans, Honolulu

Editor’s note: Dale Evans is president and general manager of Charley’s Taxi.

Unregulated growth of ride-sharing

As full disclosure, I love Civil Beat because it refuses to march to the drum beat of Hawaii’s well entrenched “establishment.” Plus, I love wearing its T-shirt everywhere because it makes me look a lot smarter and cooler than I really am.

As I was reading through today’s Morning Beat, two July 16 articles caught my attention: Bianca Smallwood’s “Honolulu Cab Companies ‘Discouraged’ by Caldwell Pricing Proposal” because I’m quoted in the story and because I’m vain, and Stewart Yerton’s story, “Hawaii Governor’s Race: Clear Differences On Energy Policy”, because I’m a passionate conservationist. And, of course, true to Civil Beat’s standard, both articles were very well written and very readable.

In reading the two aforementioned stories, what struck me was how they highlight a dangerous contradiction. While both Gov. Ige and Rep. Hanabusa seem deeply committed to the state’s 2045 renewable energy goal, Mayor Caldwell seems just as committed to facilitating an unregulated growth of on-demand ground transportation, already one of the largest producers of carbon.  

Another evidence that our “establishment” is as entrenched as it is dysfunctional?      

— David Jung, Honolulu

Editor’s note: David Jung is the owner of EcoCab.

Candidate Q&As

Common sense firearm regulations is top priority

I am going to scream if I hear another candidate blame both Democrats and Republicans equally for overreacting to the many mass school shootings (Elections 2018).

A $15 minimum wage is of little concern to the seven children and teens (age 19 or under) who are killed with guns in the U.S. on an average day. Single-payer health insurance means little to the 50 women who are shot to death by intimate partners in the U.S. each month. Redistribution of income won’t affect those killed in the 13,000 gun homicides a year. A free college education is not an issue for the 96 people killed by gun violence every day.

Being a progressive is more than just supporting a list of arbitrary single issues. As a progressive, much of our responsibility is to participate in creating a more perfect union and to promote the general welfare of its citizens. Keeping our school-aged children in constant fear of being victims of a person with a firearm does neither.

— Roy Kamisato, Honolulu

Sherry Campagna

She’s no totalitarian mouthpiece

Susan Wong of Kailua asserts Sherry Campagna is “clamoring” for war (Letters, “Campagna’s assertions aren’t serious,” July 16).

I haven’t heard it.

She apparently knows American might is a diplomatic tool and the array of options it presents should not be cast aside in irresponsible clamoring to be the “anti-regime change” mouthpiece that plays into the hands of totalitarians who are only too happy to hear it.

As to Modi, el-Sisi and Assad, their history speaks for them.

— Tom Purdy, Manoa

Write a letter to Civil Beat. Send to news@civilbeat.org and put Letter in the subject line. 200 words max. You need to use your name and city and include a contact phone for verification purposes. The opinions and information expressed in letters are solely those of the authors and not Civil Beat.