Seattle pulls plug on city’s Pronto bike sharing service

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SEATTLE — Mayor Ed Murray announced Friday that the unsuccessful Pronto bike share service will end on March 31, and more than $3 million will be spent instead on improving bicycle and pedestrian improvements throughout the city.

Murray said the new projects “will grow Seattle’s bicycle and pedestrian network as we continue to lay the foundation for a multimodal transportation system that reflects our growth and our values. The funding for these projects is derived from funding previously allocated to the 2017 re-launch of the city’s bike share program. Pronto, the city’s current bike share service, will end March 31.”

In March 2015, the City Council voted to approve the purchase of Pronto, which had failed to meet ridership and revenue expectations since it launched in October 2014. At the time the Seattle Department of Transportation was looking to expand the system in 2017 to include more stations and possibly electric bikes.

Council members approved the Pronto deal with stipulations requiring the department to better serve low-income and minority residents and to complete downtown bike-lane projects before expanding the bike-share program.

Councilwoman Lisa Herbold issued the following statement after Murray’s announcement Friday:

“This was absolutely the right call. With limited public dollars, these resources are better used to develop safe routes to schools for our students.  Now is not the time for public investment in a bike share system.

“I’m glad to see these funds are proposed toward implementing the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plans, and School Safety projects, in line with my proposal last year to re-direct $4 million in funding away from expansion of the Pronto system toward these existing needs. I regularly hear from constituents about school crossing safety, most recently regarding Genesee Hill Elementary.

“During last year’s budget cycle, I sponsored a budget action the Council adopted to remove $900,000 in funding for operation of the Pronto system in 2017 and 2018, to preserve funding for these existing needs.”