PATH hopes to add bike-share locations

  • A bike sharing station located on Banyan Drive, across from Liliuokalani Gardens, is one of four stations established in Hilo. (STEPHANIE SALMONS/Tribune-Herald file photo)

In the five months since Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii, or PATH, launched its bike-share program in Hilo, more than 2,700 people have used the bright blue bicycles for trips around town.

According to Tina Clothier, strategic projects director for PATH, a West Hawaii-based bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group, approximately 2,762 people have used the bikes in Hilo from Aug. 9, 2019, to Jan. 12 of this year — an average of 17 rides per day.

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“That’s not bad for four stations,” she said in an email. “We anticipate that this number will increase exponentially as we add stations.”

Bike-sharing can be used for short trips around town. Bicycles can be rented for 30- or 60-minute increments and returned to another docking station.

A single 30-minute rental is $3.50, or a cyclist can purchase 300 minutes to use whenever they’d like for $20.

Monthly subscription plans also are available. Unlimited 30-minute rentals are $15 per month, and unlimited 60-minute rentals are $25 per month.

In Hilo, stations can be found near the bandstand at Mooheau County Park, on Banyan Drive across from Lili‘uokalani Park and Gardens, at the Grand Naniloa Resort and at the County Building.

The number of subscriptions,compared to single-ride numbers, have also “grown quite a lot,” Clothier said, adding that 192 members use the bikes regularly.

Clothier said usership is in line what what the organization anticipated.

The most popular station is the one across from Lili‘uokalani Park and Gardens with 1,011 rides either in or out of the station since Aug. 9, while Mooheau Park is second with 917 rides, Naniloa has clocked 680 rides, and the County Building has seen 154.

Clothier said she has submitted a grant-in-aid application to the state Legislature for two additional stations in Hilo at Hawaii Community College and University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Farrah-Marie Gomes, vice chancellor for student affairs, at UH-Hilo said in an email the university has been working closely with HCC and the student governments on both campuses to determine the interest and feasibility for the project, but plans are temporarily on hold to look at funding options to meet matching criteria for one of the grants.

“While students could use the bikes to travel between classes and events on the two campuses, there is added benefit for students to travel out into the community with other bike stations positioned across town,” she said. “We also realize that having a bike station on our campus provides opportunity for community members to visit our open-access campus.”

The bike-share program started on the Big Island in August 2016 with three stations in Kona.

Clothier said previously that Kawehi Inaba, then-director of the county Department of Research and Development, had approached PATH about developing a bike-share pilot program after seeing similar endeavors on the mainland.

The initial stations in Kona were funded by the county, but part of the agreement with the county was to do a feasibility study about expanding the program to Hilo.

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Clothier said PATH also plans to work with Mass Transit to have bike-share stations at and around the county’s transit hubs and is looking at other ways to make bike-share available to residents.

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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