Interesting People, Interesting Conversations

Kailua-Kona, Travel
D The Driver, serving Hawaii Island

What does an Admiral of a British Royal Navy submarine, a South Korean car engineer, a billion-dollar real estate broker, and major recording artist have in common?   Me!  They have all rode with me (Not all at the same time. Although that would be interesting. Lol), while visiting the Kona-Kohala Coast! Lol.  I enjoy engaging in conversations with interesting people.  And to get paid while doing so is frosting on the cake.

Kailua-Kona transportation
Photo by Joel Collins.

It’s not lost on me that there are some people, at times, that are not interested in speaking during our 20-35 minute commute.  Whether they need to send emails, texts, or just catch a quick nap, it is incumbent on me, to identify those times and keep quiet.  But for the most part, people ARE interested in engaging.

I’m not a star-struck individual.  I believe people are people.     However, I am fascinated by all people.  Each of us has a journey, and each path is unique.  It’s these paths, and how we process the experiences, that differentiates our perspectives. Music and movie celebrities are interesting to me but no more interesting than any individual that has distinguished themselves in their respective field.  I guess I’m just curious about how different folks are navigating their life experience.  Each person that enters my vehicle is the sum total of their journey, thus far.  The work they choose, the way they view various events taking place in the world.  I feel enriched when people share their stories and perspectives.

Last week I had the honor of transporting a noted liver specialist.  “There are five major organs in the human body, how did you reach the decision to specialize in the liver?”  I asked the good Dr.  He lit up in his response.  Speaking of all the wonderful functions of the liver. From filtering toxins from our blood to the storage of vitamins “It’s a fascinating organ!”, he expressed.  Although he would not be as known as an entertainer or professional athlete, he and other professionals have reached a level of success that would make them “rock stars” in their respective industries.  I’m interested in everyone, but I know, generally, people want to know about “high profile” figures.

Have I driven celebrities? Yes. Do I broadcast who has ridden with me? No.
From time to time people ask me “What celebrities have I driven?”  I always answer “Everyone that rides with me are V.I.P!”.



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Is UBER a Worthwhile Alternative To a Taxi, In Kona?

The name UBER has some taxi drivers all over the world shaking in their boots. The Kona market is no exception. Viewed as a threat by some, UBER entered the Kona transportation market as a lower cost, ride-share option for customers, one year ago.

In March of 2017 UBER began offering its service on Hawai’i Island.  Having informational meetings in Hilo as well as Kona, their search was on to find drivers to fill the anticipated demand.   They seemed to be successful in their recruitment efforts, as evidenced by the fact that there ARE UBER drivers!
UBER vs. Taxi

I have a few friends that are UBER drivers, and I’m constantly asking them about the process and their experience(s).  The responses are varied.  Some really enjoy it.  Some like and dislike aspects of it.  And there are those that hate that they are driving for UBER.  The ones that enjoy driving for UBER speak of how cool many of the UBER users are.  They also appreciate the fact that there is a great deal of freedom associated with making the additional income.  The ones that have mixed reviews also speak of the interesting customers they pick up, however, they’re not too fond of the compensation scheme.   The ones that did not like the UBER driver experience state that in addition to the low pay, “…you have to be tethered to your phone and if you’re not quick enough on accepting an assignment you could lose it.”  I gather, it’s a great side gig for some but not so great for others.  The most pleased with the service has been, by far,  the frugal traveler.

At the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole, you may see people walking up Airport road, in the direction of Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway, dragging along their luggage.  After seeing this more and more, thinking it’s not too safe, I decided to stop and ask a couple why they were walking up the road.  They told me that they are heading to the highway to wait for their UBER ride. I remember thinking “Wow! UBER must be offering  quite the deal, for people to want to walk that half a mile with their stuff and risk being struck by a car.”  I get it. You gotta do what you gotta do.  As of today, the airport does not allow UBER drivers to pick up customers from the airport.  Taking a walk up the hill has been their solution, thus far.

For the passengers, as I see it, here are the pros and cons.
Pros:

  • Lower costs transportation
  • Cash-free transactions
  • A network of regular people (This could be “good” or “bad”)

Cons:

  • No airport pickup,
  • Prices are not state regulated,
  • Not always available,
  • Dependent on access to mobile signal (a challenge for some areas of the Big Island)

Things change.  Industries change.  As in all business, innovations that will keep your service or product relevant is a must for survival.  The creators of UBER have done just that.  They have taken a general need- transportation, and with the aid of some software technology and  “regular” people and their vehicles, and reimagined how a person could get from point A to point B in a cost-effective manner.  I think it was a  bold and creative innovation, but far from the panacea of taxi alternative transportation.

Instead of taxi drivers thinking how can they stop UBER, they should be coming together to think of innovative ways to make their service more appealing to potential customers.  This business of moving people from one place to the next is not complex.  What differentiates one driving service from the next is price, reliability, and quality of service.  Taxi drivers will not be able to compete with UBER in the area of costs but they CAN compete in the area of reliability and quality of service and that is where the customers will sort themselves out.  Some will focus solely on price point, and go with UBER while others will consider convenience and reliability and go with a reputable taxi service.  This is not to say that UBER drivers are not reliable or do not provide quality service, I am suggesting that the seasoned professionals that have been state-regulated should have a leg up in the department of quality of service.  They should, anyway.  What has been your experience with UBER and Taxis on the Kona-Kohala Coast?

IRONMAN 2017 Descends on Kona-Kohala!

Kailua-Kona and the Kohala Coast is all a buzz!

Up and down the Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway, you’ll see cyclists preparing for this Saturday’s (October 14th) big event- The IRONMAN 2017 World Championship!

Ironman 2017 prep
Cyclists preparing for this Saturday’s 2017 IRONMAN Championship.

Approximately 2000 individuals will be here to take part in this year’s competition.  Hat’s off to each one of these athletes!  I’m fascinated by the intestinal fortitude and courage it takes to participate in such grueling challenge.  No, the IRONMAN competition is not for the weekend runner.  This is for world-class athletes!  These people, from all over the world, have agreed to push their bodies to the limits of their capacity- physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Not only are they going to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles, but do it all under the sweltering Kona sun!  Whether you come in 1st or 2000th place, you are all champions, in my book.

So…  To all you brave men and women, participating in IRONMAN 2017, I raise my beer to you!  When it’s all said and done, and your legs are wobbly, and you find yourself in need of a taxi-cab back to the Kona International Airport, to return to your respective homes, feel free to give me a call.   Call D The Driver if you need a Kona Taxi ride to or from the Kona International Airport!

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Lava Rocks, Ocean, Sunshine, and Goats!

Hualālai, Kohala, Kona, Hawaii
Hualālai volcano on the Kohala-Coast

Hawai’i Island, more commonly referred to as “The Big Island”, is a magical and wonderful place!   Boasting 4 of the 5 major climate zones, and 8 of the 13 sub-zones. On the leeward side of the island is the spectacular Kohala-Coast.  Classified as dry semi-arid (steppe), and dry arid (desert), South Kohala is the hottest area of the island.

The South Kohala-Coast is the home to vast fields of lava rock; kiawe and palm trees; pristine aqua and deep blue waters; and Billy goats.  Yup, Billy Goats! Keep an eye out while driving  Route 19 (Queen Ka’ahumanu Hwy), to or from Kona Airport, and your chances are pretty good that you may spot one.  The Kohala-Coast is also the location of some of the most luxurious hotels in the State.

Goats in grass

Nestled in the middle of lava fields, these resort developments offer a stark difference to the desert like, surrounding area.  Like an oasis of palm tree-lined streets, meticulously manicured lawns and world-class golf courses crafted streams and cascading mini waterfalls, with various shops, restaurants, hotels, and vacation rentals.

On a clear day, you’ll be able to see Maui’s mighty Haleakala smiling at you from across the ocean.  Approximately 11.5 miles north of Kona International Airport, there’s a Scenic Overlook. From there you can, safely, take in the view of the ocean, fields of lava rock, as well as neighboring Maui Island.

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There are many taxi-cab and airport shuttle companies in Kona. All provide service to this area.  If you want to ensure a comfortable, and safe commute with a knowledgeable, and conscientious driver, please book your Kona-Kohala transportation needs with D The Driver today!   Call D The Driver if you need a Kona Taxi ride to or from the Kona International Airport!

The Sun sets in Kona
When the sun sets in Kona, it commands attention.

 

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Enter D The Driver!

Aloha!
My name is D The Driver.  Welcome to my blog site!

If you are reading this, undoubtedly, you are visiting or planning a visit to the Kohala-Coast, here on Hawai’i Island (aka, The Big Island).  My blogs will focus on the sights and activities of the Big Island (Through my lens, of course.). Whether you’re interested in kayaking Keauhou Bay, chartering a fishing boat in Honokohau Bay, or where you can get some good Hawaiian shaved ice in downtown Kailua-Kona, here’s where you’ll find my writings and videos on all things Kohala-Coast!

Kailua-Kona transportation
Photo by Joel Collins.

Just as my name alludes to, I’m a Driver.  A driver that, primarily, focuses on the Kona side of The Big Island, but I can be convinced to take you on a tour anywhere on this beautiful rock.  Flying into Kona, and you need a ride?  Book with me HERE.

Hope to see you in the Sunshine!

D

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