The Honolulu City Council is calling on the state Legislature to draft a bill that would manage car rental companies in response to complaints from neighborhoods about the peer-to-peer car-sharing companies taking up parking space on side streets.

Council Chairman Tommy Waters authored Resolution 21-201 and wants Honolulu to have some oversight of these companies, such as the car-sharing app Turo, which was frequently mentioned in the measure.

I support comprehensive regulation of these services, and am considering amending city ordinances to address the impact of these peer-to-peer cars on our public streets,” Waters said in a statement last week.

“As of right now, the city is preempted from regulating these services comprehensively, making enforcement difficult. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the state Legislature to establish a mechanism by which the counties can undertake effective enforcement,” he added.

When the Covid-19 pandemic affected tourism last year, it created a shortage of rental cars and fueled demand for peer-to-peer car-sharing companies, which are privately owned vehicles. 

Car-sharing companies rent vehicles by the day or by the hour, rather than booking and picking up a car at the airport. Customers can pick up and drop off car rentals from any location, and they can use their phones to lock and unlock the vehicle. Customers are billed for the time they use the vehicle. 

The resolution wants to revive the idea behind House Bill 333, which sought to require regulation of the companies but died in April due to disagreements between the House and the Senate. 

Sen. Chris Lee, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, said a similar bill will be discussed at next year’s legislative session. 

“This has been an issue for a couple of years, especially now that there’s been an explosive growth in peer-to-peer car-sharing,” he said. “We absolutely should put some commonsense regulations in place to make sure users of that service and renters of that car are protected and local neighbors are protected as well.”

The city resolution has not been scheduled for a hearing yet.

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