By Marc Howe
A new bikesharing scheme is giving members of the public in Hawaii the opportunity to choose their preferred technology for the deployment and operation of the project upon its scheduled launch next year.
Bikeshare Hawaii is a nonprofit project that enjoys the participation and support of both public and private partners, with the goal of expanding bicycle usage in urban parts of the Aloha State.
As part of preparations for its official launch next year, Bikeshare Hawaii has established its own demonstration area at the Honolulu Design Center, providing members of the public the opportunity to experience firsthand the slew of technologies that the nonprofit is currently considering for deployment.
Two of the systems, Nextbike and Social Bicycles, involve the outfitting of hi-tech devices upon the bicycles themselves; while the other two, Cycloshare and PBSC Urban Solutions, make use of “smart” docking stations.
Bikeshare Hawaii’s demonstration zone at the Honolulu Design Center will enable visitors to take a spin on each of the systems and then provide some of their input on which they would prefer to see used in their local community.
Lori McCarney, CEO of Bikeshare, considers it a more democratic method of catering to public tastes during the provision of pedal-powered transit.
“People can sit on the bikes, touch the bikes and then vote on different things that they like or don’t like and let us know what they think,” said McCarney.
Once launched, Bikeshare Hawaii will provide visitors and residents of Hawaii with access to 2,000 bikes from 200 docking stations, covering an area of approximately 7.2 square miles.
At its outset, the scheme will encompass a large swathe of central Honolulu, including Diamondhead, Chinatown, Makiki, and the University of Hawaii.
Bikeshare president and COO Ben Trevino expects the scheme to enjoy strong popularity once it’s up and running.
“We think we can get 5,000 to 10,000 rides on these bikes and try to get them used somewhere between two and five times day,” said Trevino. “Sixty minutes of ride time that doesn’t expire for about $7, and 500 minutes of ride time, that also doesn’t expire, for $25 dollars.”
Following its launch at the start of 2014, the scheme received strong initial impetus in the form of $2 million in city and state funding. It still needs another $5 million in capital, however, in order to properly get off the ground.