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caption: Pronto Bikes in Seattle's University District
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Pronto Bikes in Seattle's University District
Credit: KUOW Photo / Joshua McNichols

Pronto Bailout Plan Rolls Forward To Full Seattle Council

UPDATE 3/3/2016 7:05 PM: When the idea was before a City Council committee meeting this week, council members voted verbally, and the committee chairman, Mike O'Brien, misheard one vote and said the final count showed a tie.

Councilmember Debora Juarez was recorded as being against the $1.4 million plan. She actually voted in favor of it but was misheard by O'Brien.

O'Brien tells the Seattle Times that he made a mistake.

The change in the vote means that the measure will go to the full council later this month with a recommendation that it pass.


The city's proposal to buy bike-share company, Pronto, is still alive despite a deadlocked vote in a City Council committee Tuesday. Without a bailout, Pronto will become insolvent in March. The price tag on the bailout: $1.4 million.

Council members are split on what to do with Pronto, and the council sustainability and transportation committee voted three to three on the plan. That vote moves it forward to the full council without a committee recommendation.

Last year the City Council set aside $5 million for possible bike-share expansion, and Seattle Department of Transportation could buy the program with that money.

City leaders want bike sharing to be part of Seattle's transportation network, but disagree on who should run it.

Council Member Mike O'Brien thinks the city should buy Pronto. "I think there's a decent chance that our existing system expanded is a conservative, stable, safe way to bring legitimate bike share to Seattle." He says it is "a very similar system to what's operating in most cities around the country that are operating well."

O'Brien says this is an equity issue, too, and that the city could make the program more accessible to low-income people.

On the other side, council members Lisa Herbold and Tim Burgess proposed amendments to stop the city from buying Pronto. Both failed in committee.

Herbold says residents already spend a lot of money on transportation, such as the $930 million Move Seattle levy approved in November. "The bike share system is very similar to the Car-2-Go system that is privately owned and operated here in Seattle and does not rely on city funds to make it work."

The discussion will continue in the City Council's meeting March 14.

The proposal has new amendments, brought by Mike O'Brien, that would require SDOT to present monthly ridership and finance reports.

If Pronto is not bailed out, the city of Seattle must pay back a $1 million federal grant.