Today Honolulu celebrated the opening of Biki, the state’s first bikeshare program. Biki launched with 1,000 bikes and 100 bike stations from the business and arts district of Chinatown to the tourist-heavy beach town of Waikiki, making bike riding much more available in this dense five-mile section of town.
Biki is hoping to build a better biking infrastructure for all of us residents and tourists on Oahu, by making it easier to take themselves out to lunch while working downtown, run errands from home, or head out for a night on the town in Waikiki without paying for exorbitant ‘tourist rate’ parking fees.
Today was the official launch at the State Capitol, featuring Mayor Caldwell, who happily supported hosting a bikeshare program ‘in the best place in the whole world.’
The stations have been placed around town over the past few months, and just today, the bikes were installed at stations across the city.
Biki was five years in the making. Though bikeshare programs are well-loved in cities around the world, from San Francisco to Helsinki, Bikeshare Hawaii faced a lot of resistance from a community and business that didn’t understand the model or were wary of Mainland solutions being implemented in the islands.
Some of the pre-launch concerns include safety, as Honolulu roads are already congested with buses, tourist trolleys, cars, mopeds, bikers, and pedestrians. Others cite parking as an issue, because Biki stations have taken up some parking stations within the city.
But Lori McCarney, CEO of Bikeshare Hawaii explains that years of consideration and tons of meetings went into building the program, including the stations and the pricing.
In Honolulu Civil Beat, McCarney explains that each station was carefully considered for various reasons, and that if one station ends up not working out, it can be moved. She also wrote that the cost of Biki, which offers multiple rates for different types of riders, is priced fairly, saying that many other Bikeshare programs on the Mainland (which started out cheaper) are now finding they need to raise prices to keep their programs running.
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