Biki struggles to keep up with bike demand, uptick in vandalism as tourism recovers
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It’s no secret that Biki was struggling during the pandemic. But now that tourism is returning, the bikeshare company is dealing with a new set of problems.
Like many other organizations, Biki has been hit hard by the pandemic. Revenues were down about 50% during the first year of the pandemic. And even though demand for Biki bikes is coming back with tourism, it’s been difficult for Bikeshare Hawaii to keep up.
Executive Director Todd Boulanger said that during May 2021, rides are at 91% of what they were May 2019, compared to May 2020, when they were at 39%.
And while the company is trying to catch up, Boulanger said over 300 bikes have been vandalized during the pandemic.
Tires were slashed, bikes have been painted and frames have been bent.
Biki bikes have specialized parts that are hard to replace and even harder to get now because of the pandemic. Boulanger said that parts are up 300 to 400%.
“Luckily community members have stepped up and when they see something, they say something,” Boulanger said. “We’re actively working with HPD to identify and prosecute those individuals.”
The helpline for Biki is 888-340-2454 if someone finds a vandalized bike, or call HPD if a vandalism is in process.
Bikeshare Hawaii is also dealing with a reduced fleet. Because there is more demand for a smaller amount of bikes, bikes are working overtime.
According to Boulanger, during non-pandemic years, an average bike will see 3.2 rides a day. Now, Biki bikes are seeing over five rides per day.
“There’s also less rental cars available, so people are turning to these bikes more,” Boulanger said.
There are currently 900 bikes compared to the typical 1,100 or 1,200.
Boulanger said they are currently in active talks with the city to come up for a long-term solution for funding the bike share program.
Biki is currently looking to enroll ambassadors to connect the program to disadvantaged communities and provide them with affordable in-town transportation.
They will be taking names through the 27th. More information is available online..
Copyright 2021 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.