Lack of cash delays launch of bike share program

Lack of cash delays launch of bike share program
Published: Jan. 27, 2016 at 10:01 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2016 at 11:40 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Bikeshare Hawaii planned to roll out its bike rental system this month, but the start date has been delayed because of a lack of capital.

"We need about $7 million," Bikeshare Hawaii CEO Lori McCarney said.

The money is needed to pay for a fleet of up to 2,000 bicycles, a GPS system and bike racks for up to 200 parking stations that would be spaced out from Chinatown to Diamond Head and the University of Hawaii.

"We need to place the order and to place the order we need the capital. So we're a capital campaign when you think about it that way," McCarney said.

Bike sharing is popular in many mainland cities. Riders rent a bicycle from one bike rack and return it there or at another location.

"Of the 10 major visitor markets, which we're one of them, we're the only one that doesn't have bike share," Hawaii Bicycling League's Daniel Alexander said.

Mainland system's have corporate sponsors. Nike sponsors the Portland Bike Share program. CitiBank sponsors New York's City Bike.

Bikeshare Hawaii is trying to convince local companies to get behind them, but so far hasn't had any luck.

"We are also looking on the international level for a potential sponsor who might see us as an attractive market because of the visitor market that we have and the vibrant resident market that we have," McCarney said.

To get the program started, the city and state contributed $2 million. Private sources kicked in $500,000.  Bikeshare Hawaii is asking state lawmakers for an $8 million revenue bond.

"If they are to pass the bill then it allows us to go onto a bond market and access creditors that are interested in these kinds of projects," Bikeshare Hawaii president Ben Trevino said.

The non-profit has re-set its grand opening date to May.

"We're going to launch. It's a matter of when," McCarney said.

Bikeshare Hawaii is also trying to raise money through an adopt-a-bike program. For a $1,000 donation, you can have your name or a special saying put on one of the bicycles.

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