Seattle’s long-struggling bike share program, Pronto, will be closing its doors on March 31, 2017 or before, reports The Seattle Times.
Why is Pronto shutting down?
Pronto, which launched in October 2014, has been struggling for quite some time. In March 2016, the Seattle City Council bailed out Pronto after it was unable to pay its bills.
The City hoped to expand the program and add electric bicycles to the fleet. However, in November of 2016, when the Seattle City Council approved the new two-year budget, it cut Pronto’s operating funds in half from $600,000 to $300,000.
The City predicts this will mean that Pronto will run out of funds by March 31, 2017, if not sooner. The City may stop operations before the 31st, and it has already begun selling Pronto’s equipment.
What happens next?
The City is in negotiations with Bewegen, a new bike share company, to provide 1,200 electric bikes to the city.
However, before the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) can go ahead with the partnership, the Seattle City Council must approve its expansion plan.
SDOT hopes to talk with the Council in January and reach an agreement by March 2017.
If SDOT is able to reach an agreement with the City Council and partner with Bewegen, the new electric bike program could launch in the summer of 2017.
Will Bewegen be successful?
Pronto claimed that one of the reasons it was unable to cover its operating costs was that Seattle’s hilly terrain made people less likely to rent bikes. If the City of Seattle is successful in launching its electric bike program with Bewegen, this will likely not be a problem.
Baltimore, a city that recently partnered with Bewegen, has hilly terrain, and the electric bikes seem to be well-suited for this.
All we can do now is wait to find out whether the City Council is able to negotiate a deal with Bewegen for a fleet of electric bikes.
Do not fret; we will keep you updated on any decisions the City makes.
Staying Safe in Seattle
Regardless of whether you get around the city on your own personal bicycle or one from a bike share, the streets can be dangerous, especially with our city’s problems with traffic and distracted driving.
If you are ever injured in a bicycle accident and are struggling to pay your medical bills or stay afloat, you do not need to go through it alone. Call Max Meyers for help recovering injury compensation: 425-399-7000.