The decision on whether or not Seattle should fork over $1.4 million to buy out Pronto Cycle Share and run the bike-share program as part of SDOT has been made. And that decision is...
The Seattle City Council's transportation committee split 3-3 on Tuesday, which means the ordinance will now be sent without recommendation to the entire council for a final vote on March 14.
Councilmember and committee chair Mike O’Brien voted for purchase along with Rob Johnson and Kshama Sawant, while councilmembers Lisa Herbold, Tim Burgess and Debora Juarez voted against it.
Pronto opened in October 2014 with 500 bikes and roughly 50 stations and while initial numbers were promising, a lack of overall reach made it nearly impossible for the program to reach enough customers around the city. When a $5 million budget line that Mayor Ed Murray had earmarked for the program was held back, Pronto announced that it was "insolvent" in January, requiring a buyout or face shutdown.
An approval by the council would mean Seattle would spend $1.4 million to purchase Pronto and use the remaining $3.6 million from the initial budget total to expand the program over the course of the next few years.
The committee also rejected two proposals from dissenting members. One would have used the aforementioned money to liquidate Pronto and open the door for a new private company to introduce bike-sharing to Seattle. The other would have sought out a new private-public partnership rather than buying it outright.
· Seattle lawmakers split over whether to buy out ‘insolvent’ bike-share program for $1.4M [GW]
· City Council panel splits over saving bike-share program [ST]
· Pronto Bike-Share Faces Shutdown Without $1.4M SDOT Buyout [CS]