Biki bikeshare racks are sprouting like weeds all over urban Honolulu taking away some valuable and cherished parking spaces that motorists regularly use. What’s up with this? What is this Biki thing?
The bikeshare operation is the latest effort in the City & County of Honolulu’s scheme of trying to force motorists out of their vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc.) by making driving and parking more expensive through higher taxes and fees.
Now we have Biki, a private company to setting up rental bicycle racks all over town, taking away valuable, highly used, parking spaces away from the motoring public. Some of those spaces are places where motorists enjoy free, unmetered parking, such as in the area along Kalakaua Avenue at Kapiolani Park.
Biki is a non-profit bicycle sharing operation that is priced (like old fashioned cell phone service) at $3.50 per ride, per user for a 30 minute block. Bike renters can pick up a bike at one rack and return it to another. The service takes only electronic payments. No cash. Each rack is self powered with a small solar array mounted on a pole adjacent to the rack. The racks will hold about 20 or so bikes.
The bicycles are goofy looking and as this photo shows, may also contain advertising. It will be just a matter of time before some of the bike racks and bicycles are vandalized.
The per ride pricing is very high for most residents. The current bus fare is $2.50 per ride, unlimited distance and time. The per ride bus fare is going up to $2.75 after a recent bill was passed by the City Council. The $2.75 is still cheaper than the Biki $3.50 rental. Clearly the high priced Biki is aimed at tourists.
That said, why are Biki racks popping up in neighborhoods where tourists don’t travel to? Why are Biki racks taking up valuable parking spaces, metered or free, that residents use? I have to think this is part of the city’s larger agenda to get most of us out of our motor vehicles.
Biki should only be set up in places that target tourists. Biki racks should never replace any motor vehicle public parking. It is bad enough that the city has taken many parking spaces away to build bicycle lanes. Motorists are being shortchanged while paying ever increasing taxes and fees to operate a vehicle.
One of our Flickr followers writes: “The only people this may appeal to are tourists, and only some of them, at that. The cheapy [sic] bicycle at Walmart is between $50 and $100, which you can ride anytime, which would be the automatic smart choice for residents, and you don’t have to walk to a bike station to get it. I can also see vandals and some homeless wrecking the stations and even some bikes in the racks. Some of the racks are in an area that isn’t in plain sight, which will set it up for vandalism. I’d give it a couple weeks after they officially start before the vandalism starts, and two years (or less) before they pull up stakes.”
Honolulu Residents Get Raw Deal With Bikeshare, Civil Beat Commentary
Biki Pushback at Kapiolani Park, KITV 4 News
Vote No on City Charter Amendment 8, HawaiiFiles Blog Archive