The future of Pronto, the failed bike-share company that the city of Seattle purchased for $1.4 million (not including the millions more it is expected to pump into the company to keep it alive), is not bright. The very first indication of Pronto’s impending failure is the simple fact that not even the biggest fans of the bike-share scheme are members.
According to the Seattle Times, less than 1 percent of city employees hold memberships through a city-subsidized corporate-membership program. Via the Seattle Times:
“Of about 13,000 city employees, 110 are Pronto members, according to figures provided by the Department of Transportation. The city subsidizes Pronto memberships for its employees, and city workers can get annual memberships for $35, which is less than half the $85 Pronto charges the public.”
Apparently, not even Nicole Freedman — the head of the city’s biking efforts — holds a membership. When asked why, she claimed that the question was “too personal.”
But, the most absurd part of it all is that Scott Kubly, the Seattle Department of Transportation director, is not a Pronto member.
Kubly is still under an ethics investigation over his involvement with the company that was paid to run Pronto.
Now we know why Pronto failed the first time around: no one wants to use the bikes… not even the people who insisted the city buy the bikes.
How dare Seattle’s taxpayers pay city employees enough money to afford their own bicycles! No government employee should ever earn enough money to afford such an extravagant luxury!
If all Seattle city employees earn enough to afford their own bicycles, why do they need heavily subsidized memberships in the glorious city owned bike-share? Can’t they afford full priced memberships? And if the “cycling community” owns their own bicycles, whats the point of a bike-share to begin with? Why can’t the woman paid by the city to promote bicycling in the city buy a heavily subsidized membership in city owned bike-share? Write it off as a business expense. It seems there’s no mystery why the SDOT director’s company failed the first time around, and why it will fail again now that the city owns it.