The City of Seattle has raised more than just a few eyebrows for even considering a plan to spend $1.4 million to keep a failed bike share company afloat. Crazily enough, the bailout is lower than the $5 million Seattle Mayor Ed Murray proposed spending to save the program.
Pronto Cycle Share, the failing bike share company, opened just over one year ago. The company’s ridership has hovered around less than one trip per bike per day. Despite these rather pathetic numbers, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) decided to draw up plans to take over the company. SDOT went so far as to excuse the company’s sad ridership figures as a “seasonal pattern” and claimed it improved to two or three trips per bicycle this summer—as if that two or three trips was a great indicator of the feasability of the program.
SDOT’s insistence on the bailout left many wondering why—especially in a time when the city is dealing with a homeless crisis—officials are even considering spending taxpayer dollars to save such a low-utilization service. The puzzling question becomes a little clearer when one considers all the facts, specifically those pertaining to just who is in charge of SDOT.
You see, the leader of Seattle’s transportation efforts is Scott Kubly. Prior to making his way to Seattle, Kubly made a name for himself developing a bike share system in Washington D.C. and Chicago. In fact, Kubly served as president of Alta Bicycle Share.
Why is Kubly’s time at Alta Bicycle Share relevant? Well, the company was contracted by Pronto—the very same Pronto that Kubly is now pushing to bail out using taxpayer dollars.
It’s a web potential of corruption that has gone largely ignored by the media. It isn’t difficult to imagine that outcry if a Republican was trying to do what Kubly is doing. Unfortunately, there is a clear double standard when it comes to Democrats and all things extreme “green.”