Since the October 2014 launch of its familiar bright green bicycles, Pronto hoped that bike sharing in Seattle would be a way for consumers to improve their fitness, reduce their carbon footprint, and enjoy riding a bike without the hassle of owning and storing one. Unfortunately, Pronto, Seattle's bike share program, is facing some serious financial challenges that leave it searching for support from the city.
What is causing the problem?
Pronto declared its operations to be essentially insolvent due to ongoing operating losses. The City of Seattle stated that Pronto's financial struggles are due to a combination of:
- High overhead costs
- Inadequate equipment purchasing funds
- Debt-related expenses
Pronto also struggles to grow and gain market shares and interest due to the realities of bicycle riding in Seattle which include:
- Mandatory helmet laws which may deter some individuals from choosing to ride
- Seattle's naturally challenging elevation which may prevent some individuals from being able to ride or feeling comfortable doing so
- Seattle's temperamental weather conditions which can make riding to work and riding home entirely different experiences
Is the city doing anything to help?
According to a summary and fiscal note, without help, Pronto will be insolvent by early 2016. Currently, the City of Seattle is looking to purchase the bike share program for $1.4 million. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) intends to expand the program by the end of 2016 by:
- Potentially adding electric bicycles to the fleet to assist those who are unable to pedal through Seattle’s challenging elevation
- Expanding bike rental stations to more areas
While this expansion will not solve the immediate problem, the hope would be that if SDOT rescues the organization, Pronto would be self-sustaining through fees and sponsorships by 2018.
Seattle's Pro-Bike Riding Position
The City of Seattle has done quite a lot to become a bike-friendly city, such as taking measures like implementing several different initiatives to improve bike safety.
Even with all these programs and preventive measures in place, bike riders can still suffer serious injuries in a bicycle accident with an automobile. If you or someone you care about sustained serious injuries in an accident, be sure to speak with a Seattle bicycle accident attorney today.
Contact a local attorney at Max Meyers Law PLLC: 425-399-7000. If you cannot make it to the office, be sure to ask about our appointment alternatives.