Hawaii’s first bike-sharing program celebrated its official launch Wednesday.
Biki stations are located throughout urban Honolulu, from Diamond Head to Chinatown.
City officials hoped for smooth sailing with the launch, but expected a few kinks as the program sorts itself out.
The program, modeled after other major cities with bike share programs, launched at 12:30 p.m.
From then to 4 p.m., a total of 213 riders were recorded renting the bright turquoise bicycles.
Within the first 20 minutes, Biki said a local resident downtown used the app to rent a bike.
“That feels good, because the one person who checked in with the app had to go to a meeting and said, ‘It’s a little far to walk, so I’ll take a Biki,'” said Lori McCarney, CEO of Bikeshare Hawaii, which operates Biki.
Eighty-seven of 100 Biki stations opened with more than 500 bicycles available for use. The rest is expected to launch within the week.
In the days ahead, Biki will monitor each station to get a feel for how many people are using the bicycles.
“We’re going to be out talking to people, like okay, what’s working? What’s not working? Is there something to fix? Is there something to adjust? Is there a station not performing well? Is there a station that’s not safe? You know, that we need to make adjustments to,” explained McCarney.
At the McCully-Moiliili Biki station, McCully resident James Trpkovsky said she thought the bikes were a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
“I don’t have a car,” she explained, and plans to use Biki for “grocery shopping, going to work, going to my friend’s house, going to the mall, and it’s good exercise, too. I think it’s about time. Hopefully, it will make people feel more motivated to get out more, exercise more, help tourists and locals alike. I think it’s a good idea.”
What about the skeptics? Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says he’s aware not everyone is sold on the program.
“Let’s embrace change,” Caldwell said. “Change occurs no matter what. We get older every day. Many things in our administration are new, including things like rail. Let’s embrace the change and figure out how to make it better.”