New bikeshare program in Honolulu looks like competition for Biki

Riders can rent a bike for $3.50 for 30 minutes.

New bikeshare program in Honolulu looks like competition for Biki

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Five months after Honolulu police seized nearly 100 electric Lime scooters, forcing the ride-sharing company to suspend service, another startup is rolling into town.

Bikesharing company Sharee held a soft launch of its program on Oct. 20, and unlike its competitor Biki, the company says there are no docking stations taking up valuable parking space in neighborhood.

Instead of scattering their bicycles all over town, Sharee CEO Alexander Wong says they wanted to roll their program out slowly and safely.

"That's why you don't see us loading the streets with hundreds of bikes. It's just to make sure we're actually testing and making sure that people are actually riding and parking responsibly. So you may see a few bikes here and there," Wong said.

For now, most of Sharee bicycles can be picked up at the Ohana Hale Marketplace on Ward Avenue for $3.50 for 30 minutes.

After creating an account and linking a credit or debit card on Sharee's app, you can use your smartphone to locate and unlock the bikes.

When you're done, Wong says you must park the bicycle in a public bike rack, then manually lock it.

“Don’t leave it in the middle of the sidewalk. Don’t leave it in a bus stop. It’s no different as if you were riding your own bike,” Wong said.

Wong says he is working with private landowners and property owners to build a network of parking zones around Honolulu.

In a statement, the executive director of Bikeshare Hawaii said, "Bikeshare Hawaii and our Biki program welcomes all shared modes of transportation that help to make our community healthier, greener and safer for all."

Honolulu City Councilman Trevor Ozawa says competition is a good thing, but he says there needs to be rules in place for these companies.

"It's just a matter of time before we get more," Ozawa said.

Ozawa introduced a bill that requires bikesharing programs to obtain permits, and lays out where the bicycles can and cannot be parked.

He says it was a good learning experience when Lime surprised city leaders by rolling out hundreds of its dockless, electric scooters without permits.

"It's happening all over the world, and people are finding loopholes and continuing to operate. I think it was a good example that we need to be better prepared," said Ozawa.

Sharee is waiting to see what happens with Ozawa's bill, and the city confirms the company has been registering small batches of bicycles.

When asked about bicycle theft, Wong says there is a $1,000 fine if the bike goes missing or is damaged while in a customer’s possession.

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