Problems along The Road to Hana

The primary nuisances and unfortunate events that occur along the Road to Hana are caused by drivers parking illegally, individuals trespassing on private property and commercial operators that are either conducting unlicensed commercial activity or conducting commercial activity within a sacred sight. All of these incidents, paired with an unregulated visitor count [currently beyond the venue’s capacity] - create a significant compromise to the Road to Hana economy and ecosystem. This situation, left unmanaged, negatively effects the quality of life for residents and jeopardizes the safety of visitors along the Hana Highway. 

ILLEGAL PARKING: 

The act of drivers parking vehicles in an illegal, prohibited or restricted area that causes an obstruction to traffic, a traffic hazard or a dangerous situation. 

 

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Any vehicle parked outside the white lines that mark the shoulders of roadways is considered to be an illegal parking violation. At various sights along the highway there is adequate room for a few cars to park alongside the road however, if a vehicle is protruding outside the white lines and into the roadway, or if the vehicle is parked beneath a no parking sign or within the area of a designated no parking zone, it would be considered a parking violation. Danger increases when cars are parked outside the white lines, facing the opposite direction of traffic flow and / or hindering bridge clearance. 

TRESPASSING:

Entering or remaining on a premises or property in which one does not have the authorization, license or privilege to do so causing danger to themselves and a liability to the property owner. It also causes overcrowding and sight desecration.

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Laws vary slightly from state to state with some being very basic and others having very detailed requirements for providing proper notice. Outlined in  §708-814, Hawaii trespassing laws state that a person commits trespassing when they knowingly enter and remain on a property after a reasonable warning by the owner, an authorized representative or law enforcement officer. This is applicable to commercial properties as well. For agricultural lands that are neither enclose nor designed to keep intruders out, signage must be visibly displayed and clearly noticeable from outside the property. With the lack of property management, most of the highlight sights become unrightfully crowded causing the area’s ecosystem to be disregarded; desecrated with litter and feces. 

UNLICENSED COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY:

Soliciting and or facilitating commercial services without the adequate legalities in place, causing overcrowding and economic instability for the Road to Hana industry. 

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The State of Hawaii requires all individuals/entities engaged in commercial, for-profit tour activity by vehicle on public roads, be licensed and permitted by the State of Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission. Legally Licensed Tour Operators are assigned a PUC License Number which by law must be displayed in a conspicuous location on the outside of touring vehicles. Most are located on the front and rear bumper area of the touring vehicle and look similar to this: PUC–1234-C. It is ILLEGAL for anyone to engage in for-profit, commercial tours on public roadways without a PUC License and those engaging in such activities are breaking the law.

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Legally Licensed Food Vendors are issued a department of health permit which by law must be displayed in a conspicuous location within the eatery. It is against the law for an unlicensed individual/entity to advertise or solicit commercial services without the proper legalities.

Presently there are numerous unlicensed tour operations advertising illegal tours online. TripAdvisor has (35) Listings Under Private Tours on Maui, at least (18) are unlicensed or illegal. Of the (35) Restaurants logged along the Road to Hana on Tripadvisor, at least (5) lack a health permit and therefore considered unlicensed commercial activity. There is a lack of regulation presence by the public utilities commission and the department of health which festers the black market that currently thrives. This creates overcrowding, a dangerous predicament for the general public and an unfair competitive advantage for the illegal operators at the expense of legitimate, licensed companies. Although many of these unlicensed ground tours have stellar reviews, great employees and some have been operating for several years - the fact still remains that they are operating illegally, likely lacking other adequate insurances, permits or certificates and subsequently possibly miscounting the appropriate scope of taxations in the realms of both government and community give-back.

You can see if a tour operator is licensed via the PUC website at www.puc.hawaii.gov in the Advanced Docket Search section.

COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY WITHIN A SACRED SIGHT:   

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Commercial activity within a sacred sight by either a legal tour operator or illegal tour operator, both create an unfair competitive advantage for those soliciting and facilitating commercial services on or beyond private property which creates a dangerous predicament for the trespassing party and a severe liability to property owners. It causes unrightful overcrowding and sight desecration. Commercial activity within a sacred sight also creates an economic instability for the Road to Hana industry with legal operators in compliance and held accountable by various State and Federal agencies to following the rules and regulations. Legal operators in full compliance are not allowed to offer accommodations to sights located on or beyond private property which creates an unfair competitive advantage for the illegal and some of the daring legal operators who disregard laws and community policy, continuing to solicit / facilitate access to sights on or beyond private property. The majority of sacred sights (most on private property) rank the highest online based on the search for most popular sights on the island. Concierge and activity agents are more likely to book with companies who will agree to guest expectations therefore choosing those illegal and daring legal operators who will disregard laws and community policy to satisfy guest interests. This pushes those illegal and daring legal operators to the top of the list for most recommended or reviewed tour companies. 

You can browse photos of visitor experiences at Kaihalulu and Waioka on most of the vendor pages featured within the “Private Tours on Maui” search at www.tripadvisor.com