Uber decries ride-hailing price cap passed in Honolulu | The Olympian

Honolulu leaders approved a measure Wednesday to limit prices that ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft can charge during peak demand, a cap that the companies say would be the first restriction of its kind in the United States.

The measure would prevent “surge pricing” if increased rates are higher than the maximum fare set by the city. Honolulu attorneys will review the measure before it goes to Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who would have 10 days to sign it into law, allow it to become law without his signature or veto it.

Uber sent emails to customers across the island of Oahu, which is where the rule would apply, urging them to oppose the rules that would impose “outdated taxi-style requirements on rideshare.”

Uber driver Lisa Gonzales wrote that she drives to help support her family of six. During surge pricing, passengers have the option to accept or reject costs, she said, and that it’s based on supply and demand.

Uber and Lyft officials testified in City Council committees last month that the cap on surge pricing would be the first such restriction on the companies in the country, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

“When demand for rides is greater than the number of drivers on the road, passengers may pay an extra percentage on top of the base ride amount,” Lyft said in a statement explaining its “Prime Time” pricing.

A $6 ride would become a $9 ride during Prime Time pricing of 50 percent, the statement said, adding that it “only adds a percentage to the ride subtotal, which is calculated before any other fees or additional amounts.”

Council Chairman Ernie Martin said he wrote the measure to ensure consumers won’t pay an “unreasonable price.” He said companies will still be able to employ surge pricing — or as he prefers to call it, “predatory pricing” — within limits.

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Uber decries ride-hailing price cap passed in Honolulu | The Olympian.