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Honolulu City Council passes cap on surge pricing by ride hailing firms


    A Lyft driver arrives at Puck’s Alley to pick up a passenger in 2015.

The Honolulu City Council has approved a bill requiring the city administration to ‘cap’ surge pricing by transportation network companies.

The bill passed by a vote of 6-3. Members who voted yes were Carol Fukunaga, Ann Kobayashi, Ernie Martin and Kymberly Pine. Brandon Elefante, Joey Manahan and Ron Menor voted no. Ikaika Anderson and Trevor Ozawa vote yes with reservations.

“Today’s vote didn’t reflect the thousands of local riders and drivers who have expressed a desire to keep rideshare reliable and affordable in Hawaii,” Tabatha Chow, Uber’s senior operations manager for Hawaii who’s based in Honolulu, said in a statement. “Bill 35 is a solution in search of a problem, as we’ve been told the City hasn’t received a single consumer complaint about our dynamic pricing model. Uber riders know upfront what price they’ll pay before accepting a ride, and Uber rides are typically 40 percent cheaper than taxi. If implemented, this bill will restrict innovation, limit consumer choice and put the availability of Uber service on Oahu at risk.”

Uber and Lyft officials testified in Council committees last month that such a cap would be the first such restriction imposed on the transportation network companies in the U.S.

Uber sent emails to hundreds of thousands of its customers and drivers Monday urging them to submit testimony to the Honolulu City Council opposing the action that places more restrictions on ride hailing operations.

The email featured the subject line “Uber service on Oahu is at risk.”

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