Biki Gets Temporary Pass Under New Law Charging For City Parking Spaces

Dec 11, 2019

Companies that rent small mobility vehicles such as bicycles will soon have to pay to operate in City and County of Honolulu parking spaces. But it won't immediately affect Biki Hawaii, the city's partner in a pilot program testing shared bicycles.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a bill Tuesday aimed at regulating mobility companies such as those that rent shared bikes and e-scooters and that want to rent their equipment from city street spaces. 

Under Bill 44, the rented parking stalls will be priced up to $4,300 per space annually. The regulations take effect in about four months.

Biki, a nonprofit, is allowed to use city property for free under its partnership with the city. Caldwell says the city will allow Biki to complete the remaining two years of the pilot program.

"To get rid of Biki, I think, is a lose for everybody. And I think to allow other competitors to come in and then we merge Biki into it as its phased in once the agreement terminates is a good one," the mayor said at a press conference.

"It was the first agreement. Other people weren't stepping up. We looked around to see who was interested, they stepped up, we negotiated."

Biki currently occupies about 30 city parking spaces. However, that number varies month-to-month, depending on bike repairs and road conditions, said Todd Boulanger, Biki Hawaii executive director.

The bill will apply to shared electric scooters as well. But the city is waiting for the state Legislature to decide whether the scooters can legally operate in the state before allowing them on city streets.

Caldwell has criticized e-scooter operations in the past because of concerns about permitting and safety.

When Lime rolled out it e-scooters in 2018 without permission, the city classified them as mopeds and confiscated them. The company then agreed to suspend operations.