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Pronto memberships go on sale noon Monday, first 600 get special blue keys

Only 600 people will get this coveted blue key.
Only 600 people will get this coveted blue key.

Tune your web browser to prontocycleshare.com and ready your refresh button because memberships for Seattle’s bike share system go on sale at noon Monday.

The system is scheduled to launch next month, and they are counting on a lot of people to buy their $85 annual memberships before the 500 public bikes hit the streets.

To sweeten the pot, the first 600 members will receive a special blue system access key to show off their status as “founding members.” Founding members get exactly the same benefits as regular members, except their special blue Pronto keys guarantee them more friends and will make them more attractive (so I’ve been told).

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If you are slow on registering, no worries. After the first 600 are sold, you will still be able to buy regular annual memberships with regular keys, and you’re plenty beautiful just the way you are.

Joking aside, this is a huge step for the bike share system, which will be the first modern public bike system in a major Pacific Northwest city. When it comes to bikes, Seattle is accustomed to following the lead of Portland or Vancouver, BC, so it’s exciting to see the city take the lead on a cycle transportation game-changer like this. All three cities were planning systems at the same time, but Portland and Vancouver balked. All eyes will be on Seattle when Pronto rolls out next month.

For more on Pronto, see our previous reporting on the station network, the bikes themselves and the innovative helmet vending solution to deal with King County’s all-ages helmet law.

More details on the membership launch from Pronto:

It’s that moment you’ve all been waiting for! On Monday, August 25, be one of the first 600 to sign up for an annual membership online at www.prontocycleshare.com and receive the coveted status of a Pronto Founding Member. Besides bragging rights and all the street cred that comes with being part of Seattle history, Founding Members will receive an exclusive, limited-edition blue key to access the system. It’s no secret that these are going to sell out fast (Citibike’s 5,000 founding memberships sold out in just 30 hours!), so mark your calendars for noon on August 25th and secure yours before it’s too late!

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7 responses to “Pronto memberships go on sale noon Monday, first 600 get special blue keys”

  1. Cheif

    In what cities is Alta already operating a successful bike share program? I feel like asking people to pony up the eight five bucks is a lot like funding an unproven business without the potential for profit normally inherent in providing startup capitol. Maybe they’d do better on kickstarter.

    1. jay

      Alta is huge (and apparently for sale). Depending on ones definition of “successful”: NYC CitiBike, DC’s Capitol Bikeshare, Boston’s Hubway, Melbourne’s bike share (the last is the most comparable to Seattle in size and something else). The first three are very popular, and while they don’t actually make enough to cover costs, they are (except Melbourne) by some definitions, “successful”

      Actually $85 is a bargain compared to the $140 or something they want the raise the price of CitiBike to.

      600 * $85 is only $51,000, a mere drop in the bucket compares to the system cost, this is not about “funding” per se, it is just hype. But it is bike share, not a new I-Phone or a harry Potter book, so I don’t really see the point. I’d be a lot more impressed just seeing one of their helmet vending machines.

      1. Cheif

        Good to know. And agreed, seeing a helmet vending machine in operation would be nice, as well as a demo station fully stocked with usable bikes, as well as signs that they’re actually on track for opening day. Of course it would have been more impressive if they could have lobbied gov’t to reject the sorry mandatory helmets law in favor of safe streets and decent infrastructure.

      2. David Amiton

        Well, technically Pronto is like a hybrid between the systems you mentioned and NiceRide, which is Minneapolis’ bike share system. NiceRide uses Alta Bike Share’s bikes/hardware/software, but they’re owned and operated by a nonprofit. Similarly, Pronto is owned and administrated by a nonprofit, Puget Sound Bike Share, but the operations are contracted out to Alta Bike Share. It’s a small but important distinction.

  2. anthony

    Alta BIke Share in its very nature is for-profit gig if I’m reading all the data on them properly.

    How long will Seattle sustain a bike share program if it loses money continually? Just looking at the twitter feed on Alta’s own site makes the other programs look not so rosy. 1368 trips in one day in the Bay Area is horrendous, and I was there just two weeks earlier checking out one of the stations firsthand.

  3. RossB

    The pronto coverage area reminds me a lot of our light rail: Don’t cover the most popular area first — cover a different area and hope you remain in business long enough to cover the most popular area. In the case of light rail, we didn’t build the UW/Capitol Hill/Downtown section even though the experts and everyone else knew that line would be the most popular. In this case, Pronto pretty much ignores the Burke Gilman, even though everyone knows it is the area with the greatest potential. Oh, I suppose there will be people who will ride a bike downtown, although I doubt they will ride it up the extremely steep hills and if they are riding it along the level paths they can just jump on a bus. Capitol Hill usage looks a bit better, as the streets are less scary, and the bus service a lot less frequent. I hope they stay in business long enough to serve the area that would probably be most popular: UW to Fremont (and Ballard if we ever finish the missing link). This is a very flat section (perfect for these types of bikes) and fits in well with the light rail system (the Husky Stadium station is right across from the Burke Gilman).

  4. […] 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 […]

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