The Seattle City Council just keeps making headlines with its “strategy” for getting people out of their cars and on to city-owned (and then-rented) bikes. And the wasteful antics all come at taxpayer expense.
The latest news, reported by the Seattle Times over the weekend, is that the city may scrap the bike-share company Pronto it bought earlier the year (for some $1.4 million, plus future operating costs of millions more) in favor of replacing the bikes it now owns with electric models. As the Times described the current process for
trying to develop a program that people might actually use, “The leading bidder is Quebec-based Bewegen, which is proposing an all-electric bike system for Seattle, according to an Aug. 3 memo to council members. That could mean the city will end up no longer using the nonelectric Pronto bikes it recently bought, and associat
ed station equipment.”
Making matters worse, the council is trying to save a program that its own citizens (and city officials) don’t use. Kubly isn’t on the city’s bid-evaluation team. The numbers don’t lie:
“Pronto’s membership and ridership, meanwhile, have continued to decline, and the s
ystem is now projected to bring in less revenue from users than Kubly’s department projected when he asked the City Council to approve the $1.4 million purchase of the system. Pronto, which launched in October 2014 under nonprofit ownership, had 1,850 active members as of July 31, compared with 1,935 members in May and 2,929 last July, according to an Aug. 24 report …People used the system for 13,416 trips this July, down from 16,895 last July, according to the report.
“Due to the declines in membership and ridership, the system is now projected to generate less than $450,000 in revenue from users this year, according to Nicole Freedman, Seattle’s bike-share director. When the council was considering whether to rescue Pronto by buying it from its nonprofit owner, revenue from users for 2016 was projected to be about $608,000.”
The bike debacle seems like a pretty typical liberal approach – use taxpayer money to try to get people to do what government thinks its best for them, then thrown more taxpayer money at the problem when the feel-good program fails.