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City Council decides the fate of Pronto Cycle Share

IMG_3237-1The Seattle City Council will decide the fate of Pronto Cycle Share during their 2 p.m. today (Monday).

Seattle Bike Blog will be there with live coverage, so be sure to check back or follow along on Twitter: @SeaBikeBlog. You can watch live online via Seattle Channel.

We have written about the Pronto situation many times in recent months. For background, I suggest you read through those posts.

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The Sustainability and Transportation Committee passed the Pronto buyout plan with Council a oversight amendment 4 (O’Brien, Sawant, Johnson, Juarez) – 2 (Burgess, Herbold).


In public comment, Puget Sound Bike Share President Ref Lindmark made a great point that has been largely absent from the Pronto debate so far: During outreach for the launch of Pronto, people in neighborhoods all over the city wanted bike share to reach them.

“Every neighborhood we went to said, ‘When can we have it?’” he said.

When one of the biggest complaints about the system from people who have tried to use it is that it doesn’t go enough places, that’s not a sign of failure. It’s a sign of success and demand. People want more.

There will be four amendments. Debate begins with an amendment by Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Lisa Herbold.

Burgess cited “optimism bias” to describe the buyout’s supporters. Ouch. Dude’s really earning that Cascade Bicycle Club endorsement.

He also cited SDOT’s use of Street Use Funds to bolster the system as a reason to approve his amendment, saying the Council should not ignore such an investment without Council approval.

Councilmember Herbold joined Burgess, saying it doesn’t make sense to buy a system if we don’t know we will be using this equipment in the expansion.

“It’s like buying a flip phone and paying off the flip phone company’s debt before buying a smart phone,” she said.

Pronto’s equipment is likely more advanced than people think. I had a chance to see behind the scenes, and it’s a pretty incredible system. It’s not a flip phone.

The Burgess/Herbold amendment failed 2–7. Councilmember Debora Juarez supported Burgess’s amendment in the committee, but has apparently changed her mind. This is great news.

Councilmember O’Brien’s amendment to push center city bike lanes before Pronto expansion (details below) passes 9-0.

Councilmember Lorena González proposed an amendment to make sure equity is a central piece of any bike share expansion.

She noted that bike share supporters focus on the equitable access elements, but “I have no seen any data or analysis that supports that claim,” she said.

Her amendment “sets up a bike share system that takes into account the multiple barriers to access.”

The González amendment passed 9-0.

A final O’Brien amendment clarifies that the Council wants oversight over the bidding process, specifically to address concerns about SDOT Director Scott Kubly’s perceived conflict of interest as former President of Alta Bicycle Share, which was later bought by Pronto operator Motivate after Kubly had already joined SDOT. This amendment passed 9-0.

Now, the main event: The final vote.

Councilmember Rob Johnson directly challenges Burgess’s assertion that the buyout is a product of “optimism bias.”

“I think Pronto is going to be a very successful system once we have the ability to expand,” he said.

Pronto passes 7-2. The sound of sphincters unclinching is deafening.

For background, below are the pro and con statements from Council staff:

Statement in favor of CB 118618

Councilmembers O’Brien, Johnson, Juarez, and Sawant

Most of Council is in agreement that bike share is essential to serve the transportation needs of Seattle’s residents and visitors. A robust bike share system has succeeded in many cities, including New York, Miami, San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., to name a few. The question remains whether bike share should be a public or private system in Seattle.

Only one municipality has a completely private system – New York City – which is sustained through a massively larger population, high usage by tourists, and a distinctly concentrated network in the wealthier areas of the City. In contrast, a public system that incorporates community input will result in a more sustainable and equitable system for our city, and will complement our burgeoning public transportation network of bus and light rail. Bike-share and associated infrastructure should not be relegated to an attraction for cycle-inclined tourists; this is an investment to increase the transportation choices this city offers to residents.

At the end of the day, Seattle City Council will spend at least $1 million dollars no matter the decision: either we spend $1.4 million to acquire Pronto’s assets – and hold significant leverage on what an expansion of bike-share would encompass – or we let Pronto fail and repay a $1 million Federal Grant contingent upon Pronto’s active operations. $400,000 is certainly a worthy initial investment to ensure bike-share is a key component of our long-term transportation plans as a city and Pronto is already showing promise.

Preserving Pronto as it currently exists – rather than letting our current system fail and losing existing ridership, membership, and infrastructure – will allow the City greater leverage and flexibility in determining what the future system looks like. This leverage will allow for increased accountability and council stewardship through the forthcoming RFP process, which will help ensure a more cost effective system that serves a greater portion of Seattle residents.

With public support, bike share will expand, increase membership, and continue to be an integral piece of our transit system. Let’s make a modest investment that will go a long way towards meeting our goals as a city; one with equitable access to a healthy, environmentally friendly bike infrastructure that serves the transportation needs of residents desperate for options to get out of gridlock. All other modes of transportation have experienced similar growing pains. Now is the time for us to invest in sustainable transportation.

Statement opposed to CB 118618

Councilmembers Burgess and Herbold

In adopting the 2016 budget last November, the City Council reserved $5 million of transportation funds to support the expansion of the Pronto bike share service; however, the Council prohibited spending these funds until SDOT presented a business plan and a financial analysis of the long-term operations of the system.

Now, Council Bill 118618 proposes that the Council lift the restriction on $1.4 million of these funds so the City can acquire Pronto’s assets and take ownership of the system. By purchasing Pronto, the City will assume on-going financial responsibility for the system.

SDOT apparently first learned of Pronto’s financial problems in early 2015 as reflected in the City’s application for a federal Tiger grant. The Council should have been immediately informed of this material fact, but wasn’t.

In December 2015, after the Council had imposed the budget restriction the previous month, SDOT paid $305,000 to Pronto to sustain their operations, violating the spirit and the intent of the budget proviso.

SDOT argues that authorizing the expenditure of another $1.4 million, for a total of $1.7 million, would allow Pronto to continue its current level of service through the end of 2016. In addition to these funds, it is estimated by SDOT that future City investments could be as high as $4 million or more to expand the system to the desired number of stations.

While a bike sharing program has the potential to be an important, and desired, element of our transportation network, the current system is insolvent and lacks the ridership and revenue to be financially viable. In essence, the Council is being asked to invest in Pronto’s rescue from insolvency so a better and more financially viable service can be developed. Despite the passionate advocacy by some in favor of such a rescue, the risks of investing without a specific plan of action in hand or a clear understanding of the City’s financial exposure are exceedingly high. Such a rescue does not reflect the level of care the Council should exhibit as it exercises its fiduciary responsibilities to the taxpayers of Seattle.

The potential financial risk to the city is evident in the failure of the Pronto service to achieve its original ridership or revenue projections as illustrated in the following table.

Divided Report-table

Based on these facts, and because of the financial risk to the City, the Council should adopt Amendment #4 which would allow for repayment, if necessary, of the approximately $850,000 depreciated federal transportation grant while maintaining the proviso on the remaining funds, approximately $4 million, to support a future public-private partnership for bike sharing. This approach would substantially reduce financial risk and allow the City to develop a public-private partnership with the clear expectation that no City funding would be required for future operating revenue and that the public and private parties would appropriately share responsibility for capital expenses. This is a more prudent and wise course to follow.

If a public-private partnership has not been developed by the end of 2016 or the full amount is not needed, the remaining restricted funds should be used for high-priority pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure safety projects.

There are a couple new or adjusted amendments on the table for discussion.

Amendment 4 (PDF)

After amendments by Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Lisa Herbold both failed during the committee meeting, they have teamed up on a single amendment that would basically kill Pronto as it is, allowing the existing public/private partnership non-profit to default on its $1.4 million loan. The amendment would reserve up to $1 million to pay back grant funds the city won to buy stations (there’s still no mention of what happens to King County’s similar grant exposure for U District stations, though presumably they are on the hook to pay that back).

The revised amendment would only release the remaining funds for bike share if plans for a whole new public-private partnership are put together by the end of the year. at that point, the remaining funds would go to yet-unspecified walking and biking projects.

This legislation may have made sense ten months ago before SDOT started talks with Puget Sound Bike Share about taking the system over, but we don’t have a time machine. City negotiations essentially led PSBS to work on the transfer and then disband pending the buyout. For Burgess and Herbold to suggest now — after the city broke the existing pubic-private partnership — that they would support throwing away our existing system and starting from scratch makes no sense.

This amendment would likely kill bike share in Seattle.

Amendment 5 (PDF)

After hearing lots of arguments that bike share would work better if there were better infrastructure on the ground, Councilmember Mike O’Brien has proposed an amendment to require the city to complete five key projects before expanding the system:

a)  Dexter Ave N Protected Bike Lane (Mercer St to Roy St)
b)  Westlake Ave N Protected Bike Lane (W Raye St to Valley St)
c)  2nd Ave Protected Bike Lane (Yesler Way to S Washington St)
d)  9th Ave N Protected Bike Lane (Westlake Ave N to Denny Way)
e)  2nd Ave Protected Bike Lane (Pike St to Denny Way)

Amendment 6 (PDF)

This amendment by O’Brien basically just clarifies that Council must have oversight over the expansion and operator contract process.

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39 responses to “City Council decides the fate of Pronto Cycle Share”

  1. Fnarf

    Hmm, I wonder if there’s anything about those successful bike share cities that’s different to the one in Seattle?

    Yes, yes there is. None of them have mandatory helmets. Whether you think helmets should be mandatory or not (I never ride without one myself), the fact is that mandatory helmet laws are bike-share killers.

    1. Law Abider

      Proof? Seems like an opinion to me.

      1. Josh

        Can you name a city with an anti-active-transportation law where bike share succeeds?


        Helmet laws probably hurt bike sharing

        Seattle, which was home to an influential 1989 study of bike helmets that has never been replicated and was repudiated by the federal government in 2013, is one of the few cities in the world where helmets are required for all adult bike users.

        Though Seattle’s helmet law isn’t heavily enforced, it’s had several effects. First, it’s obligated cash-strapped Pronto to spend about $80,000 a year offering helmets to its users. Second, it makes people who choose to rent a helmet (for $2 a pop) go through the time-consuming step of finding a properly sized one and adjusting its straps properly. Third, it propagates the idea that bike sharing (which has yet to be associated with a single fatality anywhere in the United States and actually tends to reduce biking injuries in cities where it operates) is dangerous.

        Aside from Seattle (and Vancouver BC, which doesn’t yet have a bike share system but is expecting to launch one) the main home of adult bike-helmet laws is Australia. And, lo and behold, that country’s two bike-sharing systems also perform woefully, with half the per-bike ridership of Pronto.

      2. Alkibkr

        I am not sure how you know that no one has died in the US on a bike share bike. But news reports indicate that 2 people have died on London bike share bikes. Despite the expensive studies, I am not sure you could ever prove either way that helmet laws improve or worsen the safety of bicycle riders or the general public. But you can ask any medic in an emergency room and they will tell you that helmets save lives. I am not sure you could ever prove that helmet laws inhibit people from riding bikes or using bike share. I would deem the Melbourne case to be anecdotal until I saw further study comparing their attempt at operating bike share to Seattle’s. I for one am glad that Pronto (and now the City) is offering helmets to bikers.

      3. Kirk

        To be accurate, Seattle does not have a bicycle helmet law. The law is for King County. It’s not even a traffic law but a civil infraction from the King County Board of Health. Following is a link to the KCBH health code pertaining to bicycle helmets. It is an interesting read. At the end is a provision for having your first ticket for not wearing a helmet waived if you purchase a helmet after the ticket. I like to ride without a helmet when I’m putzing around Ballard on my slow bikes, but always wear a helmet on the road bike or when commuting. I’ll feel a lot better now knowing if I do get a ticket, I can get it waived.


      4. Law Abider

        I don’t see why a rental company should get to skirt or rewrite laws, just because it’s “inconvenient” and costs them money. You ever rented a boat? You need to rent life vests that fit you. Rent a motorcycle? Yeah, you’re gonna need that helmet. Yet people still rent both of those in large amounts.

        But hey, correlation/causation! Clearly Pronto’s woes are caused by helmets, since there is a helmet law. It’s not caused by hilly terrain, terrible weather, mediocre infrastructure, questionable territory choices, nonexistent advertising for tourists, better (and cheaper) transit options or any combination of the above.

        I can promise and guarantee you that Pronto’s woes are NOT caused by helmet laws. Repealing helmet laws will NOT have a measurable effect on Pronto nor Seattle biking in general. The people who’s only obstacle to biking is wearing a helmet are so few and far between, I have yet to meet one. Someone on this blog posted that they knew one person, who seemed to have a somewhat legitimate reason, but I don’t recall what it was.

  2. Alkibkr

    Bike share in Seattle is not dead, despite the helmet law. Helmets are available to bike share users. Helmet phobia has been greatly exaggerated.

    Thank you, Seattle for not dismantling bike share.

    1. Josh

      It’s not so much helmet phobia that kills bikeshare in mandatory helmet law jurisdictions, it’s basic convenience.

      Bikeshare thrives where it’s a faster, more convenient alternative to walking or transit. Like low station density, a helmet mandate is an obstacle to speed and convenience.

      Instead of just hopping on any bike in the rack, you have to dig for a helmet that fits (one size doesn’t fit all), adjust it enough that at least it doesn’t block your vision, then hop on a bike, then return both the bike and the helmet at your destination.

      Maybe that adds less than a minute, but when you’re talking about errands in the city, that extra minute each way makes walking faster for shorter trips, and makes bicycling less attractive for people who have to brush out helmet hair at their destination.

      If mandatory helmet laws had any public health benefit, maybe that deterrence to casual cycling would be worth the cost, but public health research around the world makes it increasingly clear that mandatory helmet laws are detrimental to public health, discouraging active transportation while having little if any impact on cyclist fatalities or hospitalization rates.

      Seattle has many other advantages for bikeshare — good riding weather year-round, some of the safest streets in the nation for cycling, and a strong existing cycling culture. Pronto may well survive even with a helmet law. But if it does more than survive, it would be the first bikeshare system on Earth to thrive in a mandatory helmet environment.

      1. Alkibkr

        I thought once you rented the helmet, you could keep it for 24 hours? Also, if you are an annual member and don’t bring your own helmet (which I always do), you could probably take one out using the code and keep it with you for the duration of your day’s jaunts in the service area. Granted they are a bit bulky to carry around and fit pretty tight for some people. As to helmet hair, this gal is asking: is that a guy thing? Bouffants went out in the 1960’s I seem to recall.

        A little off subject, has anyone tried that folding helmet ? :


        If so, is it any good? Or is it still just vaporware?

      2. Breadbaker

        Yes, all renters get a helmet, and all annual members have a code to use any time (which I use exactly as it’s intended, when I casually pass a rack and realize my trip could be quicker with a helmet). I’m on my bike about a minute after taking the helmet out of the box (once you do it a couple of times, you learn how to adjust it).

      3. SeaAB

        Vancouver BC bike share has helmets (as VBC has a mandatory helmet law like Seattle). Their bikes have a special basket that houses a helmet, so no need for additional helmet kiosk.

      4. Josh

        “Significantly increased odds of not wearing a helmet were observed for females relative to males (OR 1.4; 95 % CI 1.1, 1.8) across varied times and locations.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26323983

        While data isn’t the plural of anecdote, the last time I surveyed employees to try to get more Bike to Work Week participation, helmet hair ranked higher than traffic or bike lanes as a barrier to professional women. It doesn’t take big hair to be turned off by that steamed-to-the-head look and feel of helmet hair on a damp day.

        Guys have it easier, just keep your hair shorter than your helmet vents and you don’t get the vent-pattern wave.

      5. Law Abider

        If helmet hair is a legitimate fear of potential bikers, wait until they get on the road. It’ll make helmet hair seem like nothing!

    2. Central Districtite

      Helmets should be a requirement for people under the age of 18. Everyone over 18 should be able to decide for themselves.

      Heart disease is the #2 leading cause of death in King County. We should do everything possible to reduce the risks of heart disease, the top two strategies being encouraging healthy eating and making it as easy as possible for people to work in physical activity to their daily routines. That means removing as many barriers as possible – the helmet law being one of them.


      1. jay

        Now that is a bit disingenuous, sure it is true overall, but I’m guessing the majority of bicycle riders fall in the 15-44 year old range where “unintentional injury” is the most common cause of death. However, since relatively few people ride regularly only a small fraction of those injuries would be due to bicycling with or without a helmet. On the other hand, in the 15-25 year old range, homicide accounts for more than 10% of deaths, if we want to save lives it seems body armor might be more productive than bike helmets. Or better yet, body armor plus helmets for everybody! Sure, body armor is expensive, but we could start with helmets.

        Also in that age range suicide is a significant cause of death, and since we know that exercise and fresh air cause depression, anything that discourages activity is a good thing.[/snark]

        I once read in the comments on some other blog, the topic having something to do with drunk driving, someone suggested that since technology is always getting cheaper, perhaps breath alcohol interlocks should be standard on cars, instead of waiting until after some one drove drunk and was caught. I’m sure you can imagine how well that idea was received.

  3. Van Wolf

    What a relief! I don’t use Pronto myself, but it is essential whenever family visits or I can compel a non-bike-owning friend (hey, some of my best pals are car-drivers!) to come with me on an adventure. That said, Pronto needs to be dramatically expanded, not just stations, but as put forth in amendment 5 in terms of infrastructure, and in being linked to Orca. Pretty much every bike owner I’ve talked to about Pronto has said they’d use it/use it more if it was linked to Orca, and even as a folding bike owner, I’d be more likely to saddle a Pronto than haul my bike through transit.
    Furthermore, not to fan the flames the Helmet Wars, but, I agree we need to overturn the helmet law as it currently stands. Its not as if police are inspecting the helmets people are actually wearing and continued use of a cracked helmet is actually more dangerous than going without one. Not to mention the second hand sale of already cracked helmets, which you can observe in every thrift store in town. Lastly, I really believe this impacts Pronto and overall cycling numbers, mostly due to data I’ve seen cited on this blog and in other places.
    Probably preaching to the choir here, but recently even Kentucky struck down a proposed helmet bill. Seattle is proving itself provincially dated in terms of encouraging cyclists. That reminds me, any word on that petition to overturn it?

  4. Becky

    I don’t find checking out a helmet to be cumbersome at all. I love that they are provided and I can turn it in. I’m not sure whether or not helmets should be mandatory as a matter of policy, but for me personally I like them and I would use Pronto less/not at all if there weren’t helmets for members at stations.

    Anyway, whew.

  5. Eli

    I don’t get it. If bike share isn’t working because the infrastructure provably prevents people who aren’t the “Strong and Confident” riders from bicycling — why would we be requiring downtown infrastructure improvements as a condition of expanding bike share into other, non-downtown neighborhoods?

    So we’ll just replicate the same Pronto failure in lots of new neighborhoods that have just as crappy infrastructure and re-learn that same lesson for a few more million taxpayer bucks?

  6. Sharon

    Annoying (but I should have known better) that the Seattle Times quoted me ONLY on concerns about bike theft, not the convenience and the multi-modal options facilitated w/Pronto, or that Pronto makes it easy for my to continue to choose not to own a car. I’m feeling hopeful about Pronto 2.o allowing others to leave their cars home more often or maybe even give them up. And I would happily pay for an annual Pronto membership for someone who couldn’t afford it – please make that an option on my annual renewal.

  7. Breadbaker

    I’m apparently going to be on KOMO tonight.

  8. ODB

    How many movies have the scene where someone takes a hostage and the party that’s supposed to care retorts “Go ahead, kill the hostage!” In this case, bike advocates started bike share without a network of downtown bike lanes suitable for clumsy bikes piloted by beginners. I figured bike share was going to be cast in the role of hostage, allowing advocates to shout: “Build a downtown network or the bike share dies!”

    Here, bike share almost died, but rather than actually *getting* a downtown network, protected lanes are a *precondition* to further expansion. I think the council called the advocates’ bluff.

  9. poncho

    Is there any word about immediate changes/improvements to Pronto like better station locations? Additionally ULink opens Saturday would could be leveraged big time with well placed Pronto stations providing last mile connections and a big hub station at each Link station. UW Station to 520/Montlake Freeway Station, UW Station to UVillage, UW Station to the heart of UW Campus. Obviously an expansion of Pronto to Fremont and Ballard would be enormous and make the most of both the advantages of Burke Gilman with the fast underground University Link.

    1. AW

      Let’s hope that the expansion will be done based on research, data and thoughtfulness rather than political considerations. Now that the city is running Pronto, what is going to happen now ?

    2. Tim F

      Honestly the best way to improve station locations is to have more of them. Probably one more will be moved to the waterfront and one closer to ULink, but we have a pretty small system so there’s not a lot to move.

      Prior to expansion I’d like to see more outreach. A lot of cyclists at my office don’t even really know what Pronto is. We’re starting a cycling “brown bag” series and I think an intro to Pronto could be useful (in addition to regular commuting, repair, safety, routes topics). I’m also planning a Pronto team for the Bike-to-Work challenge at my workplace since we’re in the service area. I wonder if Cascade might start a Pronto-oriented ride in their group ride program. A Pronto meetup (maybe branching off from another supportive meetup downtown) might help Pronto riders pool their positive experiences and welcome new riders. This kind of limbo for the program is counter-productive. A Pronto presence at the bike show (maybe there was one?) for example would have been a great outreach opportunity. Commute Seattle would be another venue to help people find out if a Pronto pass would be useful to them. I’ve also had bus riders standing at stops occasionally ask me about the bikes as I pass by.

      1. QC

        Honest idea: Free 30 day Pronto passes for first time users during bike month! Of course, it’d have to be backed up by a credit card to avoid theft, but otherwise, why not?

        We might just get some people hooked.

  10. Breadbaker

    Actually, KOMO apparently didn’t like my interview, since they went with a rather negative analysis of Pronto. They didn’t even use the shot they took of me riding (instead had someone riding a non-Pronto bike). And the reporter made me miss my bus.

  11. Alkibkr

    There’s not much they can do but play shell games with the 54 stations they have. And many of those (like the ones in the U District) are constrained to location by terms of grants/sponsorships. Amendment #5 will delay expansion until those bike infrastructure projects are completed. It’s great that they are holding SDOT’s feet to the fire, but they are repeating the same mistake they made by putting the proviso on $5million. Delaying espansion will impede progress on making the system self sustaining.

    Everybody has a favorite desired station location, but I think, if possible, these moves might improve the general usefulness of the network:

    – Move the station from King Street Station Plaza to the ground level entrance to King Street Station where it is plainly visible and convenient to Amtrak customers. This would also be a little more convenient to the Stadiums.

    – Move the station at 6th and King in the IDS to a more visible spot by 4th and Jackson where it is plainly visible to people getting off Link at the IDS.

    – Move the 1st and Marion Station down to the waterfront where it is plainly visible to people exiting the WS Ferries and the West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxis.

    – Move the station at 4th and Union to 3rd and Pike where it is plainly visible and convenient to people getting off Rapid Ride.

    -Move the station at the UW Medical Center to be plainly visible and more convenient to people exiting the UW Stadium Link station.

    – There are two stations at 9th and Mercer. Move one of these stations to Warren and Mercer or somewhere on Mercer closer to the theaters (Opera, Ballet, Teatro Zinzani, Intiman/Cornish, Bagley Wright), grocery (Metro Market) and drug store (Bartells). There’s a great protected bike lane on Mercer going under Hwy 99. Selfish reasons, Metro restructuring of Rapid Ride C line has now made it a 3 seat ride to Lower Queen Anne from most West Seattle neighborhoods. Returning late at night from theater events and having to wait for a bus transfer on 3rd and Pine downtown is not very appealing.

    1. Josh

      I’d move the King Street Station kiosk to the bottom of the Weller Street stairs — more accessible to Amtrak, to Sounder riders, and to the stadiums.

      If you want convenient access from IDS, surely somewhere *on* that brick plaza around Union Station there’s room for a kiosk without even crossing the street from the tunnel entrance.

      1. Alkibkr

        Yes, next to the Weller Street elevator/stairs would be perfect because the stations must be in a sunny location (not under the Amtrak overhang).

    2. LWC

      How about moving the closest station to each Link entrance so that it’s *at* the entrance, rather than 2-3 blocks away?

    3. Jonathan Callahan

      All excellent suggestions! This is the kind of station-by-station redesign analysis that Pronto (now SDOT) should be undertaking, preferably with community input.

  12. Alkibkr

    Maybe some signage at the light rail stations and RR stops would help to point people to the nearest bike share station.

    1. Josh

      Even if they can’t find room *at* the stations, surely they could find locations within line of sight?

      Signage would be great if they really have to make users walk a block or two, but if the goal of the system is to make usage faster and more convenient than the alternatives, a thousand foot block at an average 4.1 feet per second is 4 minutes, a time penalty equivalent to adding more than 3/4 of a mile to a 12 mph bike ride.

      No big deal if you’re riding because you like to ride, but if you’re trying to sell the system on speed and convenience, that’s neither.

  13. Alkibkr

    If they could spare a couple of stations to move to Victor Steinbrueck Park and the base of the Space Needle, that might drum up a lot more lucrative tourist business for Pronto.

  14. Erik

    There’s a lot of discussion based on hope and change. Pronto has run a large deficit, there is no indication that it won’t going forward, and is reliant on sponsors to break even. The city’s transportation director has direct ties to the failed entity and is now pushing for the city to subsidize it. I’m sorry but the whole thing reeks of cronyism. The city needs to spend their money on improving riding conditions for the thousands and thousands who already have bikes and not subsidize a fashion statement for the city.

    1. AW

      Agreed as it stands now.

      I suspect the system could run in the black – or at least not that much in the red that it would matter and become a great option for the city. But it is going to take people who know what they are doing to plan and implement the expansion.

      I hope the people who fought to get the city to buy Pronto will continue to fight for them to get the right people running it.

    2. Josh

      Of course, you can say the same thing about city streets, they’ve been running at a constant loss for more than 150 years now; drivers today cover only 10% of the cost of Seattle’s streets, and they depend on a huge subsidy just to keep the potholes filled.

      Or Metro, farebox recovery doesn’t come close to covering capital and operating costs. Don’t even get me started on the subsidy per ride for the streetcars, or light rail, or Sounder.

      I’m not sure why profitability is a metric that should matter for only one mode of transportation in the city.

  15. Gary

    Clearly putting the stations within line of sight from the Rapid Ride stops, and the LINK stops is key to having an inter-modal system. Along with integrating the payment system to use the same ORCA cards. Ideally the bus fare or LINK Fare should get you some free time on Pronto. I’d think 30 minutes should be enough.

    This thing should be thought of as solving the last mile problem, not as a bicycle rental business.

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Ballard-Fremont Greenways Meeting
Jun 26 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Ballard-Fremont Greenways meets monthly on the 4th Wednesday of the month. Join the google group for monthly meeting information: https://groups.google.com/g/ballard-greenwaysBring your enthusiasm and ideas to share with the group or just stop in to say hello[…]
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