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Seattle City Council Votes to Buy Pronto & Expand Bike Share Service

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The vote releases $1.4 million from the city’s budget to rescue Pronto and ensures that the bike share program will continue

A couple weeks back we learned that the Seattle City Council's transportation committee had actually voted 4-2 (and not 3-3 as initially-reported) in favor of recommending that the rest of the council vote in favor of investing $1.4M in Pronto Cycle Share in order to keep it afloat.

That vote happened Tuesday evening and it went as expected. The council voted 7-2 to invest in the bike share program, which also includes $3.6M in additional funds to start expanding the program citywide.

The existing program has 54 stations in Seattle — and 500 bikes, according to Pronto. But the city Department of Transportation, which asked the council for approval to purchase Pronto, intends to expand the system in 2017 to include many more stations and, possibly, some electric bikes.

Many see the way to profitability as expansion to ensure that people all across the city have an incentive to use the bikes, rather than just people located close to Central Seattle right now. Council Member Lorena González specifically added language that requires SDOT to reach out to low-income communities to see how a bike share can work best for them.

Critics worry that Seattle's steep hills and weather will always keep people away from the service (even though cities like Vancouver and Denver have thriving bike share programs).
· Seattle to buy, expand failing Pronto bike-share program [ST]
· Bike Psych Out: City Council Committee Actually Voted in Favor of Saving Bike Share [CS]