Pronto buyout is not only a good deal for Seattle, it’s the only choice that makes sense

SDOT Responses to Council Questions-getting

Images from City Council documents ahead of the March 1 Sustainability and Transportation Committee meeting.

Sustainability, access to healthy transportation choices, economic development, congestion reduction, innovation. Public bikes grow and support so many of Seattle’s goals and values as a city that it’s hard to believe we are even thinking about cutting modest losses and liquidating the system at the first sign of challenge.

The City Council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee is preparing to vote on SDOT’s Pronto buyout proposal at their 2 p.m. meeting tomorrow (Tuesday). You can voice your support online using this handy form from Cascade Bicycle Club and by testifying in person at the start of the meeting.

The $1.4 million under debate is part of the $5 million buyout and expansion plan the City Council already approved (with conditions) in the fall. Though it feels like an emergency because the timing of the vote is under the gun as the system’s non-profit owner faces default at the end of March, the city would have needed to buy the system’s assets under any expansion plan. This isn’t an unplanned cost, just unplanned timing.

And the deal Seattle is getting is very favorable. For $1.4 million, the city will get $2.1 million in assets, bringing the city’s total bike share assets up to $3.1 million. But even better, the city would get a functioning bike share system already in operation complete with a valuable team of sponsors, 3,300 annual members and all the hard-to-measure marketing and habit-building investments already made. Like with any business, it costs money to get bike share customers, and the city is basically getting that existing customer base value for free.

Central Staff Memo-2-citybudgetDespite ridership numbers lower than projections, Pronto is not a failure. Both SDOT and an independent budget analysis by City Council staff found that a city-owned Pronto system would run about $115,000 over budget assuming no growth in ridership or sponsorships.

Closing that funding gap is hardly a moonshot. The city just needs to sell ten station sponsorships. Or it needs to add another 1,300 members to its current 3,300. Or attract 14,000 more day-pass users. Or (more likely) any combination of these sources of income.

SDOT Responses to Council Questions-decomissioningIn fact, it would cost more to decommission the system than it would to keep it running while the city plans a 2017 expansion (though the city would only pay part of the decommissioning cost).

Get some confidence, Seattle, we can make this system work. From major planned bike network improvements (especially downtown) to major transit expansions, so many pieces are about to come together.

U Link stations opening in 19 days on Capitol Hill and UW may do the lion’s share of work to close that funding gap on their own, since nearby public bikes will become that much more useful. There is no way we’re going to close bike share the same month these new light rail stations finally begin operations, right? This is the moment bike share has been waiting for.

I apologize in advance, but I’m going to use a baseball metaphor. Ditching Pronto now would be like laying down a bunt on the first pitch that goes foul. Then instead of trying again, you quit because you didn’t hit a home run. As we have reported, Pronto’s limited size and split system was doomed to come up short. The answer isn’t to give up, we need to give it the effort it needed from the start.

But Councilmember Lisa Herbold (D1, West Seattle) is planning an amendment to prevent a city buyout of Pronto, would set aside $1 million of the approved $5 million budget to repay the Federal grant (she didn’t speak with the County about their state grant liabilities). The remaining $4 million would be directed to other unspecified bike improvements, she said.

Basically, she’s not against bike share, she said, she’s just against the city owning bike share.

“But [the amendment] also states support for wholly privately-owned bike share,” she told the City Council Monday in a preview of Tuesday’s committee meeting and vote.

While letting the private sector launch its own bike share sounds great, the city buyout is the only plan to keep Pronto alive. Pronto General Manager Demi Allen told the Council during testimony February 19 that Motivate is open to taking on financial responsibility for the system, but only if the city expands it to a more sustainable and appropriate size (at least double what it is today).

If we sell off all the existing assets as described above and pay back grant funds, nobody is going to magically launch a brand new profitable bike share system. In reality, we will be simply giving up before we even really tried.

And as we have discussed previously, the value of city ownership is that bike share can be operated as a public good like transit rather than just a money-making scheme centered around wealthier and likely more touristy parts of town. In fact, if bike share is ever going to reach West Seattle (or Rainier Valley or Bitter Lake), it’s probably not going to come from a profit-driven company.

That’s a District 1 amendment I’d like to see: In addition to the near-term expansion plan, what is the city’s long-term plan to reach even more of the city including West Seattle?

A path forward with more Council oversight

Yes, those last two years are typos. Should be 2017.

Yes, those last two are typos: Should be 2017.

“I’m moving toward supporting” the city buyout of Pronto, said Councilmember Mike O’Brien Monday. But he’s proposing a series of his own amendments that would give Council more of a role in drafting and reviewing the expansion process.

SDOT plans to put together a Request for Proposals in April outlining the system expansion the city wants to see and giving all operators a chance to bid on the contract. Bidders would submit plans by the end of July, and the city would award the contract in August, according to the timeline. This would set the expansion up for a June 2017 launch.

O’Brien basically wants all these steps to go through the Council, a sign that the Council doesn’t fully trust SDOT to handle the process on their own. And given the rough transition process that helped get us into this mess, that concern makes sense.

Council oversight of the RFP process should also ease fears about any conflicts of interest SDOT Director Scott Kubly has with Motivate (he was President of Alta Bicycle Share before joining SDOT and before Alta was bought by Motivate, Pronto’s operator). He maintains that he has no financial stake in whether Motivate of another company gets the contract.

And though conspiracy and corruption is a sexier angle, Kubly’s deep experience with bike share could also be seen as an asset as the city prepares a renewed bike share launch. He played a major role in systems in Chicago and Washington DC, and should be able to help Seattle’s system succeed, as well.

Making our existing system work better

SDOT has also outlined plans to help the existing bike share system work better this year by working to better place stations. They outlined this plan in a slide prepared for tomorrow’s committee meeting:

SDOT Responses to Council Questions-relocationsThis is great news, and perhaps a hidden benefit of city ownership of the system: Seattle has more ability to negotiate station locations (like, say, in Westlake Park or the Central Library plaza) than a third party.

Keep your eye on the ball, Seattle (again, I’m really very sorry for the baseball metaphors). Bike share is awesome, and it could so easily be so much better. It’s not a total failure just because the first year didn’t go according to the planning document’s projections or because the city’s frustrating bureaucracy failed to transition ownership smoothly or because the city didn’t win the competitive Federal grant it applied for. We’re trying to build a whole new public transportation system here, a healthy 24-hour service closing gaps and extending the reach of our major transit investments. This is more than worth our effort, and certainly worth the funds we’ve already budgeted to make it work better.

UPDATE: Councilmember Herbold sent a lengthy email about her Pronto amendment to people who contacted her about the issue. In it, she questions the value of public ownership of bike share, an issues we touched on above. She also suggests a path where Puget Sound Bike Share goes bankrupt and the city picks up the assets at a lower price. I don’t know bankruptcy law enough to know how realistic this plan is or what negative repercussions might come from such a choice, but it’s a definitely an idea we haven’t heard yet. Here’s an excerpt from her email:

The real issue appears to be this: should the public own bike sharing? In practice, if Seattle purchases Pronto, it will become a part of our transportation network, which could result in additional ongoing costs. SDOT projects it would pay for itself, in part through sponsorships, though it’s worth noting sponsorship projections for the South Lake Union streetcar fell well below original projections and Pronto’s business model failed due to being undercapitalized and realizing less sponsorship revenue than needed; sponsorships will also likely be needed for Waterfront re-development, and any potential Center City Streetcar. It’s worth asking whether there is a limit to how much overall sponsorship funding Seattle can realistically attain.

A final note: while a publicly-owned system isn’t my preferred outcome, I recognize many do support that. However, I wonder if the legislation before us is the best deal available to Seattle for a publicly owned system. If these amendments pass, or the Council votes no on the legislation, the parties involved would face different bargaining positions: Pronto would face insolvency at the end of March, and a shutdown of operations; Key Bank would face the prospect of $1.275 million not being repaid; and Motivate could lose their potential advantage of having a system already in place during an RFP process. This could dramatically reduce the cost to the public to acquire the bankrupted company’s assets.
It’s possible that scenario could result in a different proposal for public ownership than the one before us now, which could result in a better deal for Seattle. And, as noted in the Central Staff memo, Council saying “no” to purchasing Pronto does not limit SDOT’s ability to proceed with an RFP for a different bike-share system, using any or all of the potential ownership models.

UPDATE 3/1: Councilmember Tim Burgess announced a somewhat similar plan.

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44 Responses to Pronto buyout is not only a good deal for Seattle, it’s the only choice that makes sense

  1. Matthew Snyder says:

    I don’t understand why we are not making the decisions about the details of bike share expansion in conjunction with the decision about whether to bail out Pronto. Otherwise, aren’t we just running the risk of buying equipment today that will be effectively out of date and incompatible a year from now? Shouldn’t we at least have a draft RFP to look at now, so that it’s clear whether a future operator is locked into the current equipment, or can substitute different equipment (dockless or docking, e-bike or not, etc)?

  2. Anthony says:

    Wow, what a headline finisher, “it’s the only choice that makes sense”.

    I guess we now know that any other option is flawed according to Tom and that the SBB has the only answer that matters, yeah right.

    Taking Seattle cycling to a new low is what this place is all about. Thank ‘effin God I rode 26 miles into work today and didn’t have any screwy ideas from this “think tank” mess up my commute.

    I already have to deal with rude drivers/parents who can’t gte their act together, tyhe last thing we need is to support a whole sale dysfunctional system that isn’t helping the long term road for cycling in the PNW, quite the opposite in fact.

    • Central Districtite says:

      If you are riding 26 miles one way on your daily commute you are definitely not even remotely close to the target market for Pronto.

      • anthony says:

        This isn’t about the “target market”, it’s about sustaining a viable bike share program that works for a variety of users. Clearly nyou missed the point about the solution being a non-starter. We will once again be visiting this issue AND asked to shell out more cash in the not too distant future ande be told all over again “it’s the only choice that makes sense”!

        I want a fully functional program, but this city isn’t ready to present it and have a network of riding paths and personal space. They aren’t willing to give us the space we desserve andf this blog isn’t willing to call the City on it either. Instead we get a talking mouth piece for the mayor, ugh.

    • (Another) Tom says:

      @Anthony,

      You’ll catch more flies with honey.

      I mean, the nerve of the Seattle Bike Blog, a site dedicated to bicycle news and promotion, being pro-Bike Share.

  3. AW says:

    I’d love a functioning and useful bike share as much as anyone else. But if the city buys this thing then who has the vision and practical experience to create this ? Perhaps I’ve missed something but I’ve not seen that question addressed. And reading between the lines, it sounds like Mike O’Brien has the same question.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Yes, confidence is lacking. That’s why O’Brien’s amendments give the Council a say in how the expansion process plays out.

      • Al Dimond says:

        Right, the plan is:

        1. Budget an insufficient staffing level
        2. Higher-level staff will have to intervene when more work is required
        3. Also the city council gets to spend its time managing the system
        4. Higher-level staff will also have to spend time communicating and negotiating with the council
        5. WAIT GUYS WEREN’T WE SUPPOSED TO BE PLANNING A DOWNTOWN BIKE NETWORK?!?!?

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        I wish that the city’s hand in the bike share process had gone smoothly, and we could have confidence that everything is under control and in good hands. The current bike share funding emergency is due to unforced errors in leadership and a lack of transparency about the financial troubles early enough for us to do something about it without rushing to beat the default buzzer. This didn’t need to play out this way. As much as adding process can be frustrating, Council has every reason to be frustrated and demand oversight.

      • Al Dimond says:

        Um, sure. My point is that this supposed great deal is coming with a bigger, unstated cost, in the time and attention of our city council and high-level SDOT staff.

        The council needs to be working on homelessness, HALA, and various policy and oversight issues around education and transportation that affect a lot more people than Pronto. High-level SDOT officials need to be coordinating with WSDOT and Sound Transit on their ongoing projects, coordinating with Metro, planning Move Seattle transit improvements, and planning and executing several street repair and maintenance projects.

        And then you get down to the bike stuff. Just within that category we have about a half-dozen bike-specific projects in flight, probably a half-dozen more that should be in some stage of design, we need to manage cycling routes around at least a half-dozen other construction projects. Oh, yeah, and downtown bike network planning, by far the most important thing going for cycling in this town, optimistically looking like it’ll be coming in a year late.

        Sure, the council “has a right” to demand oversight, but is it the best use of their time? Is it the best use of high-level SDOT staff time? No, of course not. Bike sharing is full of “bikeshed” issues that can be argued endlessly but ultimately just aren’t that important. That’s one major reason that it’s best to avoid a city takeover: once it becomes part of the city the capacity for minute issues to soak up time and resources in the political process is almost limitless. If bike share was a necessary public utility that would be one thing, but it isn’t.

      • Al Dimond says:

        (To be clear: I’m saying it’s better to let Pronto as it is die than to let it become the city’s baby. If the city does its job, its actual job, building and maintaining necessary public infrastructure and managing the most important public policies, and if bike-share proves itself in other comparable cities, some organization will come along in another 5-10 years and try to start one here again, with much better chances of success. That’s fine.)

  4. Oscar p says:

    For $1.4 million, the city will get $2.1 million in assets, bringing the city’s total bike share assets up to $3.1 million.

    Except this isn’t the case at all. The lucky buyer takes on a big pile of debt, greatly reducing the actual value of the system.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      The debt does not come with it. That belongs to PSBS, the current non-profit owner. And they basically plan to use the city’s purchase price to pay off their loans and dissolve debt-free.

  5. William says:

    @Tom, Since this used equipment would be unlikely to fetch $1.4M in a bankruptcy sale, why doesn’t the city let PSBS go bankrupt and buy the equipment for much less in the resulting auction?

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Raises more questions than answers. Meanwhile, the timeline to prevent a default is dwindling.

      It’s not clear how bankruptcy would work out. Everyone has said that without city buyout, Pronto would shut down in a month. What is the value of not disrupting service, not blowing up the existing sponsorships, memberships, staff, vans, office, website, etc? And what is the legal cost of negotiating such a settlement where the city ends up with the equipment at a reasonable price? That’s all harder to calculate than hard assets like station docks, but it does all have value.

      So the city and county would own a bunch of station docks, but the bikes that go with them will be tied up in bankruptcy court. I doubt Key Bank is going to just write off their invested stake go and give the bikes back for pennies on the dollar or whatever, especially if they have such a captive buyer. But again, I don’t know much about bankruptcy proceedings.

      There’s also an element of “you broke it, you bought it” here. Legally, the city seems shielded from PSBS debts (at least I haven’t heard otherwise). But the city’s interference and buyout plans played a role in the non-profit’s demise, as I have reported. Is there an ethical (even if not legal) duty here? Or worse, is the city already exposed enough that Key Bank can pursue a lawsuit that, even if it fails, draws out the process and costs a lot in legal fees?

      On the other hand, the buyout is for what seems like a fair price, and it guarantees that the city has control over how things play out. I’m interested to hear tomorrow’s debate over bankruptcy. I hope the city gets legal advice ahead of the meeting to answer some of these questions.

      • Tom Fucoloro says:

        IDEA!!!! In exchange for debt forgiveness, Key Bank becomes a major sponsor of the expansion at, say, the $1.4 million level…

      • William says:

        @Tom, If the city is on the hook financially for PSBS or very vulnerable to lawsuits from Key Bank then then we should be told that. Otherwise they should pay the open market value of second hand bike share equipment which is almost certainly much less than $1.4M.

  6. Greg says:

    I’m a huge fan of biking, but this just sounds like good money after bad to me to bail out Pronto after it goes bankrupt. I have two questions:

    Would the money be better spent on something else (like bike path maintenance or construction of new bike paths/greenways)?

    Is Pronto sustainable despite going bankrupt (currently, it looks like it’s costing about ~$1k per active subscriber, which suggests it’d be cheaper to give away bikes to its ~3k active users, which makes it look quite unsustainable)?

  7. Richard says:

    I would suggest that the best thing long term that could happen with bike share is to step back at this time. Bike share hardware/software is in its infancy. Rushing forward now is going to leave us with hardware/software that is obsolete within a short period of time. Since we don’t yet have the transit infrastructure necessary to really make bike share functional why would we want to rush forward facing both that circumstance and the certainty that our equipment will soon be out of date? The argument that if we let Pronto die it will never be resurrected is simply a red herring. If bike share is as useful as its proponents would have us believe why would there not be support for it at some point in the future when we have the proper infrastructure to successfully implement it and have access to more advanced hardware/software. The sense of urgency that is being projected at this time is emotional not factual.

  8. Peri Hartman says:

    Ok, I’m seeing a lot of people questioning whether a bike share can work at this time. I haven’t seen any data on who the riders actually are and why they are using the bike share. Is there reason to believe there are enough of these riders, who ever they are?

    Questions I have, concerning usage over the last year:
    1. What percentage of people on this list have an annual membership?
    2. How many Seattle residents who own a bike have used Pronto?
    3. In #2, how often?
    4. What percent of riders have been tourists?
    5. What have been the most common purposes of a ride?
    6. If you considered using Pronto, but didn’t, why not?

    I am specifically leaving out questions like “would you be more likely to ride if the station density were greater” because the answer would most likely be “yes” without giving any indication of whether you would actually ride or not.

    I have not used Pronto at all. I think it’s a great piece of infrastructure but I have my own bike (and helmet) and work from home. It is unusual for me to be somewhere else and suddenly need to take short ride. For one reason or another, maybe a lot of people are in my situation. For those that aren’t, are there enough of you?

    • Andy says:

      I can’t offer any statistics, but we can have a little survey here in the comments.
      I have an annual membership (founding member, woo!).
      I’ve never used a Pronto bike despite having had a membership for a year and a half.
      It’s never been worth the hassle nor been an actual time savings once I factor in the time walking out of my way to get to/from a station.
      Nothing in the proposed expansion is going to change that we have an existing downtown transit network that is very efficient at getting people close to most major downtown destinations. The station density necessary to supplant that in terms of mode choice would be ridiculous.

      • Alkibkr says:

        OK, I’ll bite:

        Founding Pronto member here. 65 year old woman and member of local bike infrastructure advocacy group. My family owns several bikes and I have supported 4 local bike shops in West Seattle and White Center. I have been lifting my own personal bike on and off those gosh-awful bus racks since 1996 (oh my aching rotator cuff). I refuse to lift my bike overhead and hang it on those Link racks with the handlebars sticking out into the aisles and gouging passing passengers. Now I am told that after the two new Link stations open, ridership will zoom and there probably won’t be any room for my bike on the Link, at least during peak commute times.

        I have clocked 9 hours riding Pronto and 67 miles going to appointments, running errands and recreating around the Pronto service area, averaging a little over a mile per trip. Pronto bike share would get much more use from me if there were stations along 3rd Ave near the Rapid Ride stops, a station between WS Ferry and Water Taxi docks, a station at the Dearborn Goodwill Store (social equity?), a station closer to the UW Stadium Link station, a station in Lower Queen Anne near the theater district and grocery/drug store (because the Rapid Ride C line is no longer going to serve LQA and that was my way to get to theater events). And in my dreams, I would like to see the Alki commercial district connected to the first/last RR stop in West Seattle so I wouldn’t be stranded by our limited local bus system. But not having bike share extend into my neighborhood does not deter me from using it in the existing service area. Bike share is for slow riding. Slow riding is safe riding. Having better infrastructure would be great but I can get around fine with what we have now. I have managed both Yesler Hill (8%grade) and First Hill on a 7 speed Pronto bike. OK, I might have walked it for one block at the top of Yesler Hill.

      • Andy says:

        Interesting hearing another perspective! I appreciate you sharing it, and I wholeheartedly agree about those dumb Link racks.

        When you’re downtown, do you find that it’s actually faster to walk from wherever you are to a pronto station, ride a mile to another pronto station, then walk to wherever you’re going, as compared to just walking the 1 mile directly?
        Riding at reasonable speeds, it never made sense to me, because the stations are never right where I want to go.

        I totally agree that placing Pronto stations immediately next to bus stops on 3rd and 2nd would solve at least half the problem, though! I’m less sure how beneficial single-point stations would be out in non-dense neighborhoods, because there still needs to be a station at both the beginning and end of each trip.
        Maybe if we had a system like what Portland is doing?

      • Alkibkr says:

        I am a senior citizen and I find biking more comfortable than walking due to many years of wear and tear on the ankles.

        It takes a bit of finding out where the stations are and planning your routes to use the system and negotiate hills effectively. I am not above using a sidewalk (carefully) to go against traffic direction. There is a Pronto station on the 2nd Ave protected bike lane at Spring Street right around the corner from the first downtown stop of the Rapid Ride from West Seattle. To avoid some steep hills I sometimes ride up 2nd Ave PBL, a gentler slope, to backtrack on Pike to destinations further east. They removed the station at 3rd and Pike, one of their most popular stations, visible from the RR stop. It was something to do with the RR stop being temporarily relocated, but it never got returned (funding shortfall?). Somehow, out of sight, out of mind, then you have to hunt on your app and figure out the map to see what’s nearby (2nd and Pike, or 4th and University). From Link International District there is the station at King Street Station (upper level plaza) that can get you riding straight up 4th avenue into downtown, when coming in from the south (might be better if it were more visible from the ID Link station exit). The key is more density of stations, placed in highly visible, popular destinations that would attract more people. I would think the Space Needle and maybe the bottom of Pike Place Market at Steinbrueck Park would be a no brainer for bringing in tourist income. You could ride up Western from the Waterfront in low gear. The problem is, they are not going to be able to rob-peter-to-pay-paul very much to place stations in more popular/visible locations. They will need more stations. And there is the problem of solar power. Can’t place them in shady spots. For the limited destinations it does serve, the bikes and stations are solid and easy to use.

        I have given up on bike share extending to my neighborhood. That said, Alki Point is one of the densest neighborhoods in West Seattle. Lots of infill construction going on right now. And have you seen those wall-to-wall high rise condos/apartments lining Alki Ave? A couple more are in planning/construction. 5 adjacent single family houses were sold on Duwamish Head and another 100 unit apartment or condo is planned. But maybe not too affordable. Not a target for the social equity goal….we’re perceived as being too rich, even us old timers that grew up here or located here back when they were turning out the lights in Seattle.

      • Alkibkr says:

        Not to mention, Alki has a huge influx of weekend and seasonal visitors when the weather is halfway decent. It would be nice if more of them left their cars at home.

    • Alkibkr says:

      For puprpose of ride, I forgot to add: going to volunteer assignments.

  9. DOUG. says:

    Who knew Herbold was such an opponent of public investment in transportation infrastructure? “Let the private sector do it,” she says. So much for extending the Licata legacy of progressivism in Seattle.

    • William says:

      Read her statement on the council web site http://herbold.seattle.gov/53-2/ and then explain why it is not the best long-term path forward towards getting a sustainable bike share program. The city needs pragmatism and not litmus tests of whether elected representatives are sufficiently progressive or not.

      • DOUG. says:

        I read it. She wants to kill bike share. There will be zero political will to bring it back. And to think it can be done as a wholly private model is not realistic. There would need to be some sort of public/private partnership. Where will stations be located? On private property? Nope.

        Herbold’s district could benefit from bike share. There should be a station at the water taxi dock. And stations along Alki all the way to the Fauntleroy ferry.

        We have two new light rail stations opening in 18 days. Bike share stations should be there as well. Killing bike share at this stage of the city’s development is short sighted, impulsive and just plain stupid.

      • William says:

        She wants to model it on sustainable privately run bike share programs like New York’s. Just like New York’s it would still need significant public subsidies in the form of public space for bike racks, grants etc, but it would be run by an entity that specialized in doing it.

      • Alkibkr says:

        This is not the first anti-bike stance I have heard from Council Member Herbold. She came out early (before the election) opposing SDOT’s plans for an uphill bike lane on the west side of Admiral Way and appeared to be siding with the “Keep Alki Safe” (for car parking) faction. The picture is beginning to form. During the campaign it became clear that she was not very experienced in transportation issues. However, she was the best choice we had for District 1. She is wrong about bike share, however, and I am glad her amendment was voted down. Nonetheless, I feel in general we are lucky to have her, because she is smart and dedicated and I appreciate the effort and thought she has put into trying to solve the mess the previous council left us with regarding bike share.

  10. Steve says:

    My main concern is that this is going to poison the well on cycling projects in the city for the foreseeable future if Pronto is bought and it doesn’t work out well.

    People I know are heavily against this and view it as a handout to the cyclist community, which I’m not even sure about, since Pronto getting bought probably mostly benefits people who aren’t even cyclists today, but that is perception. Even cyclists I know are 50/50 whether they support it.

    I’m not really sure what the council should do, in a perfect world we could have both. But there is risk of spending a lot of goodwill which has real costs on this, especially if it doesn’t go well.

    • Tim F says:

      If the current system is cancelled, the well is already poisoned. Folks writing the negative headlines will pick the data they want to see. And a lot of cyclists in Seattle have so many assumptions about the way bike share works I’m surprised no one’s complained the aero-bars on the bikes are too low yet. The financials on this work out except for the nonprofit entity that’s going away no matter what. If the system gets killed, people will start asking about starting a new bike share in Seattle around the time the bike show opens. Starting from scratch won’t be any easier than starting from a system that pays its operating costs and already gets as many rides as some of the big successful systems got in their first year.

  11. Neel Blair says:

    In addition to the RFP I’d love to see some success metrics here. Uses per day per bike, station targets for dwell times (lower is better) and % of major intermodal connections covered (AKA, % of high traffic transit or light rail stations with a Pronto right next to them).

    We know what would define success enough to come up with these, don’t we? Put out for RFP with a guideline on what expectations will be for those metrics. Bonuses for hitting targets quarterly, perhaps?

  12. Erik says:

    If it’s such a great deal I’m sure a private investor would step in and buy it. Oh wait……

  13. poncho says:

    I just don’t understand why they aren’t working to make the system better… move stations to better locations, change the way people pay to use the service like cheaper day passes? There is so much untapped potential with this system. I have a membership which I barely use because of how poorly it was rolled out and has remained.

  14. Pablo96 says:

    Please, please, please pull the plug on government intervention for bikeshare. Bravo to Burgess, Juarez and Herbold for having the spine to stand up to government waste and overpaying for dysfunctional unions.

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