The city plans to start dedicating the first of
80 on-street and another
80 municipal parking lot spots next year for an infant “carshare” industry that’s gaining traction in Honolulu for customers such as Kakaako resident Josh Silva, who has booked more than 30 trips in the last six months.
The concept has been around both coasts of the mainland for years. But Hui Car Share started operating on Oahu just 13 months ago and has expanded its Oahu fleet of new Toyota and Lexus vehicles to about 100.
Hui has 40 carshare stations from Ko Olina to the Market City shopping center in Moiliili that are each stocked with one to five vehicles. The company this month opened its biggest station of eight vehicles in Waikiki across from the old NikeTown store — and eventually plans to
expand the Waikiki fleet to 20 vehicles.
The other major Oahu- based carshare company, Enterprise, did not respond to multiple telephone and email requests for comment.
Silva, a 32-year-old business consultant and owner of an art print production and distribution company, said the city’s embrace of more parking spots reserved for carshare vehicles will help customers like him who no longer need a car of their own.
Hui has two carshare
stations outfitted with three vehicles each within walking distance of Silva’s condo, meaning there are six new Toyota and Lexus vehicles he can book through his Hui app.
The closest station inside a South Street parking garage is stocked with a Lexus RX 350 Sprint SUV,
a Prius and a Toyota
Tacoma truck that are all 2019 models. Rates range from $8.45 per hour or $92.95 per day for a Prius to $13.95 per hour or $153.45 per day for a Lexus RX, according to the Hui website.
Silva prefers to reserve the truck to deliver his art prints and to help his clients with their businesses. He’s also rented the truck to make three consecutive weekend trips to Waimea Bay for fun.
Silva reserves the Tacoma through an app, which also unlocks the truck and lets him start it with a keyless
Hui teams clean each
vehicle every day, make sure they’re gassed up and even leave free gas cards. Customers do not have
to refill the gas they use,
according to Hui spokeswoman Kristine Wada.
Hui Car Share, which does business as Servco Mobility Lab, launched on July 10, 2018, on Oahu. The island represents Toyota’s first “global pilot” project through Hui Car Share, Wada said.
Toyota provides all of the vehicles, and Servco services the vehicles.
The idea to reserve
160 parking spots for carshare vehicles came from Councilman Brandon Elefante, who got exposed to the concept while attending Saint Mary’s College of California in the Bay Area in 2008.
The carshare model was popular with college students who couldn’t afford the cost of a vehicle, didn’t have parking or just didn’t want the hassle of maintaining a personal vehicle.
“It’s heavily utilized, from what I could see,” Elefante said. “I’ve always been supportive of other means of transit.”
The city Department of Transportation Services plans to gather community input about where to reserve on-street and municipal parking lot spaces for carshare companies, which will have to pay for the use of the spaces.
No more than two spots per block can be reserved for carshare vehicles, and the city will focus on finding lesser-used spots or will try to create new parking spaces.
They would be marked for carshare use only, and police would have the
authority to tow any non-
carshare vehicles, said Jon Nouchi, deputy city transportation director.
Nouchi called car sharing “another fundamental piece of being a multimodal city. … We really are looking at different ways for people to make a trip. Now that other modes are available, a lot of people have shed their car ownership and have a lot more disposable income.”
Last month Caldwell signed Elefante’s carshare parking space bill into law and said carshare companies will have to pay to lease each space.
Caldwell at the time said the costs for each space are expected to run from a low of $1,350 per year, depending on location, to a high of $4,380 per year in Waikiki.
For now, carshare customers such as Silva have to return their Hui vehicles to the same place where they picked them up.
Under Elefante’s bill, companies that lease on-street or parking lot spaces could theoretically allow customers more flexibility by letting them drop off vehicles in spots that are more convenient.
At Caldwell’s news conference, Elefante told reporters, “I believe that carshare really is another option that can help with our solution on reducing the use of cars on our street.”
Silva, the Hui Car Share convert, said it’s already saving him money.
Because of the growing availability of carshare vehicles to rent, Silva sold his 2011 BMW 535 and estimates he’s now saving “at least” $1,200 a month in insurance, maintenance, gas, registration and other
“It just makes sense,” Silva said. “And it’s much more convenient.”