Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) director Scott Kubly penned an op-ed for the Seattle Times all about how, sometimes, he uses a car to commute to work. As a member of a car-share scheme, Kubly explains that he chooses “one of 1,113 cars” available to him in order to take “advantage of the many vehicles you can find citywide thanks to free-floating car sharing.”
“As someone focused on how well our transportation system functions, I appreciate that car sharing gives people another option for getting around the city. The bus doesn’t go by your destination at the time you need it? Hop in a car2go vehicle and head on out. Need to visit a business district but are worried about the cost of hours of paid parking? Just drive a ReachNow car over, park it on-street and let the next customer pick it up from there.”
Kubly goes on to praise the car share industry and, ultimately, explain why “the city of Seattle recently opted to remove the cap on the number of annual car-sharing permits issued citywide.”
The timing of Kubly’s op-ed is a bit suspicious. You see, last week we found out that Kubly is not a member of Pronto, the failed bike-share company that he pushed the city of Seattle to purchase for a whopping $1.4 million (plus the added expenses of keeping the scheme running).
As some pundits have pointed out, it’s as if Kubly is attempting to make up for his lack of membership in Pronto by writing about his membership in car-sharing companies.
There is, however, a problem with Kubly’s strategy, if that is his strategy. Private companies like car2go and ReachNow run the car-share schemes. Conversely, due to the fact that the city of Seattle purchased Pronto, it’s Kubly’s SDOT that runs the city’s bike share scheme.
More, the fact that Kubly uses car-share schemes but does not use the bike-share scheme only confirms criticism of Pronto. In Seattle, it rains a lot. It’s often quite cold. And, there are a lot of hills. People don’t want to bike up hills, in the rain and cold, to get to work — apparently, Kubly doesn’t want to either. He’d rather take a car.
Simply put, Kubly’s lack of membership in Pronto is illuminating. It reveals why Pronto failed in the first place: No one wants to use it.
But now the city’s taxpayers own it.
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