HONOLULU (KHON2) — Biki users can expect to see major service changes over the next few months as a result of the financial impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
This includes the removal of many stations and up to a 60% reduction in services.
Bikeshare Hawaii announced that customers can expect to see changes starting April 15.
“When the state shut down in March 2020, Biki was deemed an essential service and continued to operate 24/7 to support residents with picking up food and supplies, commuting, and exercising,” said Todd Boulanger, executive director of Bikeshare Hawaii. “However, Biki cannot sustain the current service level when 2020 revenues from fare-paying customers was only just over half of 2019 revenues. These service changes are necessary and based on the forecast that the pandemic will continue to reduce revenue throughout 2021.”
Boulanger said this move will conserve Biki’s remaining resources as the state slowly recovers in commercial, tourist and office activities.
On Thursday, April 15, Biki will begin to decommission six stations affecting Waikiki, Kakaako, Kalihi, Makiki, Downtown and Kaimuki. These stations will be the first of multiple reduction phases:
- Station 102 – American Savings Bank Headquarters – Kalihi
- Station 121 – State Capitol – Downtown Honolulu
- Station 219 – WorkPlay – Kakaako
- Station 325 – Walina Street – Waikiki
- Station 410 – Cartwright Neighborhood Park – Makiki
- Station 552 – 3660 On the Rise – Kaimuki
According to a survey in July 2020, 79% of Biki members said that they continued to ride Biki and considered it to be the safest form of public transportation during the pandemic.
Oahu residents also accounted for over 80% of all rides in 2020, compared to 54% in 2017.
“The decommissioning of Biki Stops will help the program continue to operate for the time being and provide residents with a low-cost public form of transportation around urban Honolulu,” the news release said. “However, without new financial support, the program may not be able to sustain itself much longer.”
Boulanger said more cuts will be made unless they get more funding. He said they will continue to evaluate the biki stations and continue to make necessary cuts.
“We’ll make further station cuts until the system is right sized based on demand revenue and also how the system functions.”Todd Boulanger, Bikeshare Hawaii Executive Director
However, Hawaii Bicycling League said taking away biki stations will limit options.
“We’re taking transportation away from people, by shutting down stations,” said Lori McCarney, former Bikeshare Hawaii CEO and current Hawaii Bicycling League executive director. “Bike share should be moving into areas where you’re providing good low cost transportation for people who don’t necessarily have cars, or have that access.”
As for what happens to the spaces once the the biki stations are gone, the City and County of Honolulu said that will be up to Bikeshare Hawaii, since they still own the permits for the areas.