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Ask the Mayor

By Staff | Jan 22, 2015

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

QUESTION: A company that recently arrived on Maui has had a list of problems worldwide. These problems include sexual assault by their drivers, violation of state and local regulations for car services, and complaints from their drivers, who have no way of voicing concerns or complaints without getting “fired.” By having their drivers be contract employees, they skirt employment laws and worker safety laws that cab drivers and other car services must abide by. Will Maui County try to enforce its laws and regulations for car services on this notoriously troubled company?

ANSWER: Maui County Code does not regulate this type of motor carrier. Instead, the service falls under the jurisdiction of the state’s Public Utilities Commission, commonly known as the PUC. According to HRS 271-8, persons transporting passengers for compensation or hire are required to have a “certificate of public convenience and necessity” issued by the PUC. The commission investigates all instances of illegal operations under its jurisdiction, and is authorized to issue citations in the amount of $1,000, plus $500 for each day the violation continues, to transportation companies that fail to obtain certificates prior to providing transportation services. Hawaii Administrative Rules 6-62-8 specifies the amounts of liability insurance that motor carriers are required to have, and the PUC is authorized to issue citations of $1,000, plus $500 for each day the violation continues, to persons who fail to carry the requisite insurance coverage. Additionally, any person providing prearranged ground transportation services at a public airport must obtain an appropriate airport permit. Citations may be issued to violators by the Airports Division of the state Department of Transportation. To contact the PUC directly for more information, or to file a complaint about a motor carrier, visit www.puc.hawaii.gov. If any passenger feels a crime has been committed, they should contact Maui Police Department.

QUESTION: My trash did not get picked up today, and I’m wondering if we are eligible for a reimbursement for these missed pickups? This is a service I paid for, like my cable and electric bills, so can’t I get a refund when they don’t pick up my rubbish?

ANSWER: In nearly every instance when a refuse route is missed, our staff makes the missed pickups the next day. Regardless of the reason, mechanical problems or staff shortages, the ‘opala pickers do their best to make up the collection the very next day (even on Saturdays when needed), normally on overtime, which is actually at a higher cost to the county. That being said, it’s important to note that our residential refuse service is heavily subsidized by county funds; the monthly cost of $18 is roughly 32 percent of the actual cost of our rubbish pickups and landfilling. Other utility-type bills you pay to private companies are not subsidized, and to my knowledge, they do not issue refunds on a regular basis for cable or power outtages – nor can these services be made up for.

Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via e-mail at AskTheMayor@mauicounty.gov, by phone at 270-7855, or via mail to 200 S. High St., Ninth Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the column.