Tourists to Hawaii are finding it increasingly difficult to find wheels. Rental cars currently cost a fortune (that’s if you can find a rental car at all), to the point that some people are renting these cars instead. And Uber/Lyft is suffering from the same shortage of drivers as the rest of the areas of the country that have tourists flocking to them again (Las Vegas should hopefully have less of a problem with that, now).
Cecil Morton is the president and CEO of a Hawaii-based shuttle service called SpeediShuttle. With over 21 years of experience in the Hawaii transportation industry, he’s decided to invest some of his capital into making a new, local rideshare company called holoholo (the company prefers its name be in lowercase).
Holoholo (it means “Let’s go cruising”) spent the past couple of months recruiting independent contractors to be drivers on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Hawaii Island and Lanai. With drivers at the ready, they recently launched their app (for iOS and Android) and are taking riders.
Holoholo works similarly to other rideshare companies – they connect riders and drivers via an app on your smartphone. They also have varying types of ride categories:
- Military, for riders who need a driver preapproved to enter U.S. military bases.
- Assist, for riders with mobility issues who need more help.
- XL, for vehicles that can accommodate up to five passengers.
- Luxury, for premium vehicles with highly-rated drivers.
- Green, an option for riders who prefer a hybrid or electric vehicle.
One huge difference is that holoholo will not have surge pricing. Morton says his app’s rates will be about the same as regular prices as Uber and Lyft, and will remain constant without surge pricing at peak locations and times. He believes that will benefit both the riders, who will pay less, and the drivers, who won’t have to “cherry-pick” fares and know upfront how much they will make.
Other things the rideshare company says it will offer that differentiate them from the “big guys” are:
- Transparency for rider and driver pricing (no surge and no surprises)
- Sustainable product offering (green vehicle option – drivers will be rewarded for using sustainable vehicles)
- Locally owned and operated (connect face-to-face with local employees and offices)
- A focus on safety for rider and drivers (ongoing background/wellness checks and COVID practices)
Holoholo has also invested in being an in-Hawaii, for-Hawaii brand.
“I really shepherded the idea of making sure that, with the product being a local brand, things like female safety, Hawaiian values, Hawaiian culture, and sustainable initiatives like green vehicles, were really at the foundation,” holoholo spokesman Rob Mora told Pacific Business News. “It was really just making sure that … if you’re going to do this, there’s an opportunity to capture the local market and work with the community as much as possible.”
Of course, for most people, price is the most important. So for fun, I compared regular, basic rides on Uber, Lyft and holoholo, all from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) to Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa – that’s a distance of about 20 miles, and, on a Saturday at 9 am local time, about 25 minutes (as per Google).
Lyft: $55 to $60
Ouch, that’s….quite a price difference. OK, let me try a different island, and not include an airport or hotel.
How about we try Maui, and we’ll go from Kaanapali Beach to the Old Lahaina Luau. On a Saturday at 9:15 am.
OK, that’s better 😉
The holoholo app for riders is available on the App Store as well as on Google Play (there are currently 2 reviews on the iOS app: a 5 star “When you wanna go, use Holoholo. Cannot go wrong with these guys” and a 1-star “Driver didn’t show up. Don’t trust this service, I had scheduled a ride and it was a no show.”).
Morton says he doesn’t see himself in competition with Uber or Lyft. Frankly, with that first price I got, he wouldn’t be ;-). But he may give the big guys a run for their money when there’s surge pricing…if the driver shows up?!?!?!
Feature Image: public domain
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary