HONOLULU (KHON2) — Biki, the bike-sharing system on Oahu, is in danger of shutting down.
The company that runs it says ridership has dropped dramatically since the pandemic began and it’s asking the City for help.
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It is not just the lack of tourism. Biki says it is also the drop in the number of workers in downtown and the number of university students on campus.
The non-profit company that runs Biki, Bikeshare Hawaii, says the pandemic put the brakes on what had been a booming business. Biki was tallying 4,500 trips a day at its peak.
It dropped to 2,000 a day when Oahu shut down early on in the pandemic. While business has picked up since then, the company says it needs help.
“We need assistance in the next three months unless the system will close or be much smaller than it used to be. And the smaller the system gets, the less useful it gets,” said Todd Boulanger.
Biki started in 2017 with a fleet of 1,000 and 100 stations. It expanded to more areas beyond downtown and Waikiki by 2018, with a total of nearly 1,300 bikes and 136 stations.
“It’s safe, it’s easy, and I don’t need to have a car, and it’s good for the environment,” said Marcos Scott, a Waikiki resident.
Bikeshare Hawaii is in a public-private partnership with the City. The City is not charging for space where the stations are located. The company is also hoping that some of the federal funds could be used to keep Biki going.
“About $300,000 for a just a short-term bridge to about two million dollars, and that’s dealing with the equipment and more of a long-term integration with the city,” said Boulanger.
The environmental group Blue Planet Foundation started a petition urging the mayor and the City Council to help.
Here is a link to the petition: https://www.change.org/p/mayor-blangiardi-and-honolulu-city-council-save-biki-before-it-s-too-late
Boulanger points out that Biki helps keep cars off the road and fits in with the City’s Climate Action Plan.
“Biki, with the city’s help, should really be doubling down if not tripling down to meet those climate objectives in a fun and affordable way,” said Boulanger.
The mayor sent a statement saying, “I have asked the Department of Transportation Services to gather the financial and operational data for bikeshare so my administration can evaluate the need and consider options to keep our City’s bikeshare system alive and well.”