Honolulu bikeshare program lost city about $460K in 2019

HONOLULU — Honolulu’s nearly bikeshare program lost the city an estimated $460,000 in 2019, according to a city audit.

The audit released on Friday said that the bikeshare program known as Biki has benefitted its operator Bikeshare Hawaii at the expense of taxpayers, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported.

“Bikeshare Hawaii is reaping significant benefits, with little return to the city and its taxpayers, beyond bike operations itself,” the audit said. “Going forward, the city should re-evaluate its relationship, right-size the benefits and exemptions, and properly monitor its grant agreement with Bikeshare Hawaii.”

The city Department of Transportation Services sent a letter Wednesday to the acting city auditor, Troy Shimasaki, saying it was considering several options to improve the program.

In addition to a loss in revenue from the displacement of metered stalls and permit fee exemptions, the city does not get a share of Bikeshare’s fare or sponsorship revenue. That’s despite the fact that similar arrangements between cities and their bikeshare programs exist in other jurisdictions.

The audit also said the city transportation department has not provided proper oversight over Bikeshare.

Bikeshare Hawaii offers about 1,300 bikes at more than 130 self-service stops over a 6.25-mile (10-kilometer) area in the city.

Bikeshare Hawaii Executive Director Todd Boulanger said in a statement the organization is currently reviewing the city audit.

“Rental payment of public street space is still an emerging issue nationwide and not all mobility providers pay a fee to use street space,” Boulanger said in the statement. “We look forward to continuing our evolving partnership with the City in 2021 and working on items that will enhance our collaboration and continue to provide the public with an affordable and dependable transportation option.”


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