Pronto membership sales start today – UPDATED

Pronto announced two "founding member" deals

Pronto announced two “founding member” deals

It’s really happening. Today, you can buy a membership for a Seattle public bike share system.

Pronto memberships go went on sale at noon (see below for an update). As we reported last week, the first 600 people to register will get a special blue member key to show off their “founding member” status. After the first 600 are sold, you will still be able to buy regular memberships.

But the folks at Pronto have sweetened the pot a bit, and there will be two options for founding members: One costs the same as a regular membership ($85), but comes with a t-shirt and a free 24-hour pass to share with a friend. The other costs $125 and gets you all that plus a Pronto tote and five 24-hour passes to share with friends.

There is no “penalty” for buying your annual membership early since the clock will not start until there are bikes on the street, scheduled for mid-to-late September (UPDATE: The Pronto site now says October 13).

System members will get a key fob that they can scan at any of the 50 Pronto stations near the city center and in the U District to check out one of 500 hill-climbing, 7-speed bikes. They get unlimited 30-minute rides for the whole year. Since a 24-hour pass will cost $8, the $85 membership is a killer deal.

If you have a bike out for longer than 30 minutes at a time, you will start accruing fees. But if you need more time to get where you’re going, you can always swing by a nearby station and check in to restart the clock. Pronto just wants to know you’re still using it and discourage people from locking it up outside a coffee shop or taking long rides into the sunset.

Memberships will be available for purchase at ProntoCycleShare.com.

Obviously, we will be trying to buy a membership when they go on sale and will update this post when that happens.

UPDATE: After 30 minutes of tech issues and swamped servers, checkout was a breeze:

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 2.36.42 PMAnd the registration page is not the only update today. Pronto rolled out an all-new website complete with a station map and a how-to guide.

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 2.46.06 PMUnfortunately, it looks like the scheduled launch has been pushed back to October 13, according to the Pronto website.

The site also now has more details on the helmet rental system. Helmet rentals will cost $1.50 for members and $2 for 24-hour and 3-day pass holders. The rentals last 24 hours and do not need to be returned after each ride. If you keep the helmet longer than 24 hours, you will be charged $30 and can keep it.

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 2.51.50 PMYou can find all kinds of information in the updated FAQ.

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39 Responses to Pronto membership sales start today – UPDATED

  1. Mike says:

    It worries me that the Pronto site has no mention of this. In fact, it looks like it hasn’t been updated in months.

    • jay says:

      Looks like it was updated today, apparently at some point after Tom wrote “scheduled for mid-to-late September.” because Pronto is saying: “Set to launch Oct 13!”
      But they don’t say what year.

  2. Jeff Dubrule says:

    So, um, it’s noon…
    http://www.prontocycleshare.com/ is still in “watch this space” mode.

  3. charles says:

    they didn’t say what time zone…

  4. Cheif says:

    I’d love to be wrong but this screams vaporware to me.

  5. Alicia says:

    The launch wasn’t on time, riddled with 503 errors (including during payment information! Hoping I wasn’t charged twice) and the confirmation emails say “Thanks for joining the SCHEME-NAME!”

    Having a busy website is one thing, but being totally unprepared for your launch date that was announced weeks prior is another. Site testing? Anyone?

    I’m really hoping for their success. Let’s hope it goes up and up from here!

    • Gordon Werner says:

      the best is “If you need help or have any questions, please contact us at SCHEME-PHONE-NUMBER or by email at SCHEME-EMAIL.”

  6. Ted says:

    Woo! I had to reload a few times but I am now a founding Pronto member! Can’t wait to check one out. All in all a successful launch in my view.

  7. Richard Edwards says:

    It took a while, as I expected, but I got my membership! Less than 40 min after the starting pistol. Not bad at all.

  8. Lisa says:

    Considering we still have to wait another month to use it, the 30 min wait for the memberships wasn’t that bad.

  9. Kristina says:

    I tried to purchase 4 times with two different credit cards and it said their were credit card errors. Very frustrating and finally gave up.

  10. SGG says:

    Just tried 8 times to register using different browsers and different credit cards. It says something wrong with the credit card each time. (about 1pm)

    Unprofessional launch doesn’t make me very confident in the upcoming level of service.

    I guess you can keep the blue key fob. I will now wait and try the service on a daily basis after launch, thank you very much.

  11. Matthew Snyder says:

    It’s $40 extra for $32 worth of day passes and a tote bag? I don’t get it.

  12. Gordon Werner says:

    was curious about this … but if the rack is full when you try to return it you just scan your fob and it will credit 15 min free time to get to another rack (and it will tell you where one is)

  13. biliruben says:

    Do you have a link? I see nothing indicating anything for sale on their website, and they aren’t sending me any emails, even though I subscribed.

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  15. Josh says:

    Looking at their updated station map, it strikes me, the closest station to Colman Dock requires walking up to 1st & Marion… Seems like getting to or from one of downtown’s largest multi-modal transportation hubs would be very useful.

    • Cheif says:

      That’s less than two blocks.

    • jay says:

      When I first saw the map I thought the same thing, but then I remembered;
      If you walked off of the ferry, you are on the level of the ramp/over pass thing that goes through the viaduct above Marion to 1’st. First and Marion is probably at least as, and possibly much more, convenient than anywhere on Alaskan way, said ramp is pretty level, but Marion between Western and First is anything but, if you want to be on First, you be better off walking there.
      Well, unless you are going to the aquarium or the sculpture garden, but there are at least a couple of streets one could ride back down to Alaskan way without much trouble. (while Marion is one way, one could ride down the sidewalk)

      Also, the larger Ferries can carry about 2000 passengers, if one were full and even 1% wanted a share bike, you’d better be a fast runner. Also, you better be coming from Bainbridge, because the Bremerton boat usually gets there a couple minutes after the Bainbridge boat. Used to be fun when there was a bus stop on Alaskan, and the bus left at the same time the Bremerton boat docked.

  16. Merlin says:

    Guess I lucked out by accident. I was on Vashon without internet access all day, so instead of logging on and buying my membership at 12 noon, I stopped by Timbuk2 at 6 pm (they had hosted a couple Pronto promotions so I thought they might have a terminal where I could sign up). Smooth as butter (or new asphalt) – and I can’t wait to use those guest passes for one of my SLOW Rides in October!

  17. Matthew Snyder says:

    I still wish they’d offer a helmet add-on package for annual members. Let me pay an extra $25 or $50 a year and get a “free” helmet when I check out a bike. Otherwise, the $85 annual membership will really become more like $200, if I use a bike five or six times a month and don’t want to carry around a helmet all day.

    • jay says:

      Most existing bike share programs lose money on annual members who use the bikes much, and that is without the overhead of helmet vending machines. Even if you do use a bike only 5 days a month, you are paying less than 1/5 as much as the day rate. If making you pay for a helmet stops you from using the system that is a win for Pronto (well, assuming you didn’t opt out of the automatic renewal, but even if you did, it is a win for the first year (if they even last that long))
      It would probably make more sense for annual members to pay the $2 helmet rental rate and include the first helmet rental in the $8 day membership for no extra charge. But if the day users don’t want to carry the helmet between rides, then $2 for subsequent rentals seems reasonable.

      While I understand you don’t want to carry a helmet around, you do have a choice. You could certainly buy a helmet for “$25 or $50”. A helmet is a lot easier to keep track of than a whole bike. Also your own helmet is cleaned and inspected by you, not some minimum wage temp.

      To put it in perspective, if you rode Metro six times a month, and if those 6 times are round trips where you pay one zone peak fare each way, that will be $360 a year.
      Or if you put $4 in a parking meter 6 times a month, $288. $20 at a parking garage 72 times a year, $1440. A new Lexus to park in that garage, possibly $50,000
      For the $2 helmet rental fee, you could drive a Car2Go for about 4 minutes (including tax).
      You could spend $200 on a pair of shoes!

      • Matthew Snyder says:

        I actually didn’t realize that you could keep your rental helmet for a 24-hour period — initially, based on Tom’s previous reporting on this issue, it sounded like you’d have to return the helmet every time you returned the bike, and then pay again for another helmet rental the next time you rented a bike. Either I misunderstood or they’ve changed the policy — either way, it’s better this way.

        And yes, I totally agree with you that it should be free for the one-day membership users to borrow a helmet . These are probably the people least likely to have a helmet with them. I’ve posted about this exact issue several times, to the point where I probably sound like a broken record. It needs to be free for these users.

    • asdf2 says:

      Let’s face it. When push comes to shove, annual members who are looking to only go a few blocks and don’t happen to have a helmet with them are not going to pay for one. They will just do without. Illegal or no, enough people are going to do it that it’s going to be difficult for the police to ticket for it.

  18. On Board says:

    How did they miss putting a station at the stadiums? As a location / neighborhood almost in itself that routinely attracts 30,000 to 68,000 guests, one would think this would be a priority. King Street station at Jackson isn’t exactly a good location in that respect.

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