The Seattle Times’ Brier Dudley detailed a large problem with Pronto, the failed bike-share company which the Seattle City Council will probably bailout with millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars. Dudley writes:
“Last week at the Target store near Pike Place Market, I watched a guy buy a green 10-speed bicycle that was on sale for less than $70.
“He added a lock — spending $99 altogether — then snipped off the labels with borrowed scissors and wheeled it out into downtown Seattle.
“That bike cost less than annual membership to Pronto, the failing bike-rental program Seattle’s City Council may vote to acquire next week…
“Where Pronto now operates, there are transit stops every few blocks. It’s quicker to walk to a stop than rent a bike, pedal to another kiosk and return it.
“Plus, walking is free while Pronto charges $8 to $85 for passes allowing rides up to 30 minutes.”
If the city council chooses to proceed with its bailout plan, taxpayers will have wasted at least $6.3 million “buying and expanding” the company before it’s all said and done. Given that price tag, one would assume that councilmembers would pay close attention to the data. And, if that data shows it simply doesn’t work (as is the case for Pronto), one would assume that responsible elected officials would admit it and change course.
But, that would also assume you are dealing with rational people. When it comes to the far-Left members of the Seattle City Council, you’re not.
Undoubtedly, the lack of rationality in government is not promising for future projects in Seattle. Dudley explains:
“Is Seattle doomed to permanently support pet programs that don’t work?
“Pronto suggests that’s the case. This adds to a sense of hopelessness some feel about the direction Seattle is heading and about sweeping changes being made to streets, neighborhoods and communities, with questionable outcomes.
“Residents might be more amenable to change and experimentation if officials were pragmatic, flexible and willing to make corrections as needed. Instead, they get follies like Pronto from leaders who seem beholden to special-interest groups.”
Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) director Scott Kubly is one of those leaders who is beholden to special-interest groups. As Shift reported, prior to making his way to Seattle, Kubly served as president of Alta Bicycle Share.
Interestingly enough, Alta Bicycle Share was allied with Pronto—the very same Pronto that Kubly is now pushing to bail out using taxpayer dollars.
As Publicola has reported, it’s unclear whether or not Seattle’s law department has vetted Kubly to see if there are any conflicts when it comes to his past involvement with Alta Bicycle Share and Pronto. So far, officials have not been forthcoming with that information.
Certainly, it’s a potential case of corruption – or at least bad judgment – that cannot be ignored.
Jim Thomas says
In Amsterdam the bikes are free for all to use…and everybody treats them with respect so that they will be there when they need them the next day.