Facing worsening financial woes, Biki bikeshare program to shut down dozens of stations

Biki bikeshare faces funding struggles

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Biki is reducing operations as the pandemic has taken a significant financial toll on the bikeshare program — and its future is now in doubt.

Bikeshare Hawaii Executive Director Todd Boulanger said that of the roughly 130 stations in service currently, 40 to 50 stations could be decommissioned soon.

He said the next three to six months are critical in keeping the bikeshare program around.

“We can’t wait too long,” said Boulanger.

Biki is in its fourth year of operations in Honolulu.

Boulanger said in 2019 they were at 1.4 million rides for the year. When the pandemic hit, the number of trips and generated income was slashed in half.

“We’re reaching out to the community for some kokua and help to bridge us over the next three to six months to develop some funding,” said Boulanger.

“We also (would) like to start discussing what is the plan for Biki.”

He added that completely shutting down Biki is on the table, but he would like to see the bikeshare program integrated tighter into the city’s mobility strategy, especially with the climate goals they’ve set.

“Biki could be one of the additional new mobility services added to the Holo Card,” said Boulanger. “We have a low-income access pass that could be expanded to more people in Kalihi, Palama and Palolo.”

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi released the following statement on the issue:

“The effects of the pandemic on our economy are many and I have asked DTS 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.”

Blue Planet Foundation, which is focused on accelerating clean energy in the future, started a petition to show the city how essential Biki is.

“So, if we could get Biki recognized as public transportation, and being able to have them funded and included in that public transportation network,” said Blue Planet Communications Director Leigh Anne Mayberry.

“And so then we can encourage them to really implement a solution that would provide a long term support and funding for Biki.”

Biki bike users say the prospect of losing the service is disheartening.

“Well, I’d be very sad if they closed down,” said Patti Shannon, of Honolulu.

Shannon started using Biki bikes about a year ago and said she rides them four to five times a week.

“It’s so convenient, you don’t worry about your bike ever getting stolen,” said Shannon. “I ride it to the beach, park it there, go for a swim [and] it’s such a great way to get around town.”

Copyright 2021 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.