It was March 2016 when the Seattle City Council voted to to invest $1.4M in the Pronto bike share program, including dedicating $3.6M in additional funds to start expanding the program citywide.
By the end of March 2017, the bike share program will no longer exist.
When the city’s new budget was approved last week, it included only $300,000 for the cycling share program and no funding after March. That means if you want to get some final rides in on those blue and green bikes, you better do it soon.
According to an early 2016 Seattle Times report, Pronto had 1,800 annual members (110 of which were city employees). Far short of anything needed to keep the failing program moving forward.
The good news is that the city is in the midst of negotiations with Quebec-based company Bewegen to replace Pronto with a fleet of electric-assist bicycles.
The bad news is that an e-bike system complete with hardwired stations across the city won’t be ready until at least Spring 2017, assuming it’s approved to begin with. That leaves a bunch of bike share riders without a cycling option in the interim.
Short-term, it’s unfortunate that the Pronto system didn’t work, but an e-bike system is expected to make a lot more sense for hilly Seattle. And if they add the proposed 100 stations (Pronto has 54) and 1,200 e-assist bikes (Pronto has about 500), that will go a long way towards making the system valuable to more commuters.
Much like flying down Fremont Avenue on your bike during a rainstorm, you’re just going to have to sit tight and see how things play out for now.
This article has been updated since its original publication.