Tell me about taxis/Uber/Lyft etc. on the Big Island
July 13, 2021 11:18 AM   Subscribe

Any Mefites familiar with the taxi/Uber/Lyft/etc. situation on Hawaii's Big Island?

We are among the many people stuck via the impossible car rental situation right now (traveling next month, currently no cars available, when they were available the price was astronomical) but the thing is we don't need a ton of car time, so I'd much prefer to use these other options if they're available. We are:

-- Using the Kona airport both ways.
-- Staying in the Waikoloa area. Need some car time to grab groceries and supplies.
-- Have family in Hilo and Wailea, so we do want to spend 1-2 days traveling farther afield.

Because we have family in the area we may be able to finagle a car-borrowing situation for a day or two, but I still want to get an idea of the bigger picture.
posted by BlahLaLa to Travel & Transportation around Hawaii (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm a member of a Facebook group where people discuss their planning around Disney's Aulani resort, and Turo comes up as a car rental option quite a bit. It looks like there are vehicles available in the middle of next month at both the Kona airport and in Waikoloa. Would that work for you?
posted by mkb at 1:19 PM on July 13, 2021

Best answer: There are some, but not many of taxis/uber/lyft on the island, mostly in Kona. You'll have a bear of a time and pay easily over $100, if you try to take one to Hilo. It's an hour and a half each way. Public transit (the Hele-on bus) is...existant, but infrequent and at odd times. You might see if your hotel has an airport shuttle available, and my DH has heard good things about SpeediShuttle. There are grocery stores near most of the resorts, and, while they're expensive, you won't save money if you're paying for transit to town to shop.

This is not a friendly place to try to move around without a car. It's a problem.
posted by DebetEsse at 4:00 PM on July 13, 2021

I was in Maui last month. I saw more than a few U-Haul trucks and vans parked at our hotel.
posted by jennstra at 7:09 PM on July 13, 2021

Getting from Kona to Hilo via Uber will be probably more expensive than it's worth. I know this isn't ideal, but could you maybe see if your Hilo family would come to you? The cost of a nice meal out in Waikoloa (or Kona itself) for the family that comes to visit is probably a lot more reasonable, and a lot less stress to arrange, than renting a car at this point.

(side note: Please do not rent a U-Haul if you can't source a rental car. Locals need those for, you know, moving and stuff.)
posted by pdb at 8:51 PM on July 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Writing this from a Turo rental while visiting Oahu. Obviously, the Big Island is less populated than Oahu, but Turo has been great and we avoided the crazy rental rates this way. So, nthing Turo vs Lyft or similar.
posted by crunchy potato at 9:29 PM on July 13, 2021

Response by poster: I really appreciate the answers so far. I hadn't heard of Turo before now but it seems interesting for sure.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:10 AM on July 14, 2021

Best answer: The Island is a big rural area. In addition to the cost factors mentioned above, don't expect Uber or Lyft drivers to actually exist and be available at all when you need them... this was our mistake and after 30 minutes of unsuccessfully trying to summon an Uber, we had the hotel we had dinner at call us a taxi, which came after 20 more minutes.
My advice is, if you can't get a rental or don't care to drive yourself on any given trip around the island, book a car in advance. Your hotel should be able to help find a car service or taxi company that will do this. Trying to get a ride in the moment may leave you stranded. You're not in the city anymore.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 3:29 AM on July 15, 2021

Response by poster: Updating this for anyone else doing research -- we were able to lean on our family connections and borrow a car, but I found by obsessively checking the major car rental sites that there were some last-minute cars available (maybe people canceled?) and for those the price was 1/4 the originally quoted $. Still more expensive than usual but not at completely insane levels.

(The airport shuttle our hotel uses used to cost $18pp. It's now up to $78pp one way, which is just nuts.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:58 AM on August 3, 2021

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