- Associated Press - Monday, April 6, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - A Honolulu bicycle-sharing program hopes to be rolling along by early next year after raising startup costs and hiring staff members.

The nonprofit group behind the program had aimed to launch it this summer, but organizers still need to gather most of the $10 million to $12 million to get the project going, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper reported Monday (http://ow.ly/LfYAa ).

The group has so far gathered about $1.3 million, mostly through the city, said Ben Trevino, Bikeshare Hawaii president and chief operating officer.

“We feel good. It’s a matter of finding the right partner,” he said of securing funding. “We think it’s possible to do it in that time frame.”

The program would allow people to access small stations around town to rent and return bikes. More than 30 U.S. cities have a bike-share program.

“Of the U.S. top 10 vacation destinations, Honolulu is the only major market without a bike-share system on the ground or in some phase of implementation,” according to a 2014 report prepared for the city.

The Honolulu system plans to begin with as many as 183 stations and nearly 1,700 bicycles. The group and the city still need to sort out where to put the stations.

Residents who attended a City Council briefing on the program last week expressed concern that international visitors would have difficulty navigating bicycles on Honolulu’s crowded streets.

Kiosks will feature instructions and safety tips in multiple languages, Trevino said.

In attempt to make Honolulu more bike-friendly, the city launched its first protected bikeway along King Street last fall. It was a controversial project that drew disdain from many motorists.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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