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VOICES: Hitchhiking could solve rental-car crisis

The rental-car fleet in the Hawaiian islands is said to be short 40% to 50% of what it was prior to the pandemic.

The crisis forced the major car-rental companies to sell and ship many of their fleet to mainland America. The number is said to be over 10,000 vehicles.

Car rentals are said to be going for as much as $700 to $800 a day. Visitors are being packed into airplanes like sardines; some call them “cattle flights.” This has created a huge dilemma of skyrocketing tourism, which has created chaos with the return of traffic gridlock, long lines at restaurants, grocery stores, and the notorious shortage of rental cars statewide.

There are visitors who have resorted to renting U-Haul vans in lieu of the traditional convertible or Jeep. Some adventurous tourists are renting bicycles, others are resorting to Uber, Lyft, taxis, and other ride-sharing services.

Many locals have gotten in on the action and are renting their island beaters out for a couple hundred a day. A single mom on O‘ahu was renting her brand-new Hyundai sedan for $350 a day. She was doing so well her father gave her a loan to buy two more to rent. This single mom is now making a killing and bringing in over $1,000 a day.

There is a solution to the vehicle shortage that won’t cost a penny. Hitchhiking is easy on Kaua‘i. I’ve hitched many times from Kapa‘a to Kilauea and from as far as Waimea Canyon to Hanalei. I’ve never waited more than 15 minutes for a ride. Hitching on Kaua‘i is very safe, the aloha spirit is alive and well. I’ve never had a ride where I felt threatened.

Visitors wanting a true adventure and possibly making some friends for life and saving all that car-rental and ride-sharing fees, try to stick out your thumb and give hitchhiking a try.

While you’re at it, throw away that hotel key and set up a tent on the beach, and make friends with the surfers and beach-goers. Last but not least, save the huge fee of eating out by loading up on peanut butter, jelly and a loaf of bread and share with the houseless population that is abundant all over the islands.

The worst scenario, and it may not be that bad, is if the cops threaten to arrest you. You could spend a few free nights in our local jail and possibly find your soul mate.

Just kidding. Y’all come back now, ya hear.


James “Kimo” Rosen lives in Kapa‘a with his dog and blogs as a hobby at
Source: The Garden Island

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