Car Share a Potential Game Changer in Urban Honolulu

Mar 7, 2018

Credit Ku'uwehi Hiraishi

A new car share program is gearing up for launch this summer in Honolulu. The Hui Car Share Program boasts all the benefits of owning a car without the cost or hassle. The program is still undergoing pilot testing, but as HPR’s Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi reports, this could be a game changer for transportation in urban Honolulu.

Everyday Marcus Peng commutes to and from his job at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa by bike. Heʻs been living in Kakaʻako for the past five years without a car.

Credit Ku'uwehi Hiraishi

“Even though its very walkable there’s lot of things nearby you don’t have to go very far, but it’s nice to have the option to go sometimes,” says Peng,”Especially if you have to go to places like Costco and you have to get large items or things like that.”

Peng lives in an apartment in Keauhou Lane where parking is not included with the price of the unit. Parking is at a premium in Kakaʻako, and Thor Toma wants to give folks like Peng an alternative. Toma is Servco Pacific’s Senior Vice President of New Initiatives & Projects.

Credit Ku'uwehi Hiraishi

“Hui is a station-based car share program available 24/7,” says Toma, “It allows really customers the freedom and flexibility to use a car when they need it. Gas is included. Insurance is included. Maintenance, as well as the cost of the parking stall is all included.”

The program is currently in a pilot test phase, so no prices have been set. What’s unique about this car share program is it runs on a mobile app developed in partnership with Toyota Connected North America.

Credit Ku'uwehi Hiraishi

“Everything is done with your smart phone. Make your reservation, lock and unlock the car, actually start the car, be on your way, and then end your reservation when you're done,” says Toma, “So no physical key that you have to carry. No lock box that you have to get in to get a key or find a key.”

Once available to the public, users can rent Hui vehicles by the hour or day. All you need is a valid driver's license and acceptable driving record. A couple of Hui’s pilot test sites are in Kakaʻako.

“So you have definitely a lot of vertical construction here, and also some of the locations here may not have a lot of stalls for the consumers,” says Toma, “So really what Hui does is round out the transportation portfolio for residents here.”

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Richard Riegels, Executive Vice President of Stanford Carr Development. Riegels was the manager on the Keauhou Place condo project, where Hui is currently being tested. While residents in Keauhou Place are provided ample parking, a lot of buildings are only providing one parking stall per unit, if any.

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“The concern is that it becomes a marketing negative in people’s minds because they feel we all need our own car, but in reality people are gonna start maybe rethinking that set-up,” says Riegels, “And if there are available cars to rent quickly and efficiently people are going to start to think twice about multiple vehicles.”

As for Peng, he says it comes down to freedom.

“It’s very liberating to have a car, but I mean it’s also liberating to not have a car, so in that sense it’s nice to have the best of both worlds,” says Peng.

Hui plans to launch this summer in Honolulu starting with 15 sites and 50 vehicles.