Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Tuesday (June 19) vetoed a bill that would have capped surge pricing for ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft.
And kudos to the mayor for that.
The City Council has until July 19 to override the veto, but at the moment economic common sense has prevailed over government meddling — and we hope it stays that way.
The mayor is correct to allow consumers more choice in transportation. When prices rise, more ride-hailing drivers are incentivized to help customers. The higher prices draw them onto the road, improving transportation services.
In addition, the ride-hailing services notify their customers in advance what fees they can expect to pay for their rides, giving them the option to accept or decline. Putting a cap on surge pricing would deny consumers the opportunity to make such choices themselves.
Caldwell’s veto was accompanied by a promise to help traditional taxi companies by enabling them to have flexible pricing, too. Currently their prices are based on mileage and time.
On Thursday, he introduced a bill that would even the playing field for taxis, to help bring their business model into the 21st century.
This a terrific development, long overdue.
Rather than putting more restrictions on the innovative, choice-expanding ride-hailing services, greater economic freedom should be extended to the cab companies, and we are grateful that the mayor is taking steps to make this happen.