Are you heading to Maui soon? If you’re renting a car, you’ll have a whole new rental experience. Why? Because the new Kahului Rent-a-Car center opens today.
In much of Hawaii, you get off the plane, collect your bag, and head for the rental car shuttles. Thanks to ongoing projects, though, the old way of doing things is coming to an end. And the first airport that’ll see changes is Kahului International Airport on Maui. Their new consolidated rent-a-car center (CONRAC) that opens today is the first in Hawaii, with the second CONRAC coming to Honolulu sometime next year.
New Kahului Rent-A-Car Center Opens Today
Kauhuli’s new CONRAC is a large, threes-try building built right across from the Airport’s main building. As a result, once you retrieve your bag, you’ll now proceed across the street instead of hopping onto a bus. But, the facility is a little before the departures portion of the terminal, so to get there, you’ll need to take a tram.
There are a total of three tram stations at Kahului, one at the CONRAC, once across from departures, and one across from the baggage claims. You could probably walk the half-mile distance from the baggage claim to the CONRAC if you wanted to, though. And, if things get particularly busy, you may end up wanting to.
That’s because there are only two trams, and each tram can hold a maximum of 38 passengers and their bags. And, according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation, they are running both trams during peak times, but only one during all other hours.
Unfortunately, the Kahului CONRAC trams are not autonomous or controlled remotely. As a result, I don’t think the airport has the capacity to quickly deploy the second tram if necessary. They don’t run 24/7 either, as they’ll close each night between 11 pm and 5 am. The State DOT does say, though, that they’ll adjust hours as needed based on flight delays and “other factors.”
New Kahului Rent-A-Car Center Opens Today, Final Thoughts
I think the whole bit about the tram was a lost opportunity. These things should be autonomous to provide flexibility. Especially since the route is so short and is basically a straight shot. Other than that tiny issue, though, I think the new CONRAC is a great idea. I hated waiting for and taking the shuttle to the rental car facilities (though the setup at LAS and SEA drives me even more nuts). So, overall, I believe the new CONRAC is a major step in the right direction. It’ll be interesting to see how things play out over time. And if I do make it to Maui later this year, I’ll be sure to report back on my experience.