Pronto Bike Share

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Shelley 5 years, 12 months ago.

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    Has anyone on here used the program yet? Are any of you signed up as members?
    Just curious. I rode downtown yesterday to check it all out but I must have been early, all the stations from SLU to 2nd ave were empty! I saw one guy on a Pronto bike who was having trouble finding a station near 3rd and Lenora. I really hope this takes off but I don’t see when I could use one. I just ride my bike everywhere I want to go.



    I saw several in use in the U-District yesterday evening. Kind of weird though that one of the racks had two bikes with the tail lights blinking. At least 2 of the ones I saw moving, the cyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet.

    All for this. More bikes on the road means all cyclists are more visible and drivers expect to see them. I’m having a little trouble understanding the market for the program. I guess there will be enough people who need to run a quick errand at work or maybe the market is tourism.



    Shelley – I believe the lights come on and go off automatically. There is a dynamo on the front wheel and a small battery in the lights that will keep them on for a few minutes after the bike has stopped. Helmets were not available at all stations yesterday so maybe those folks either didn’t have them because there were none there or they just decided to not borrow them. The helmet loaning thing is going to be interesting because Pronto actually gave away helmets to some of the folks that signed up for a one your membership and I am assuming some folks will see those folks walk away with “their” helmets and think that they can do the same, maybe.

    Yes I hope this takes off and we have lots of bikes on the streets but like you, I am wondering who the main bulk of the customers will be so that this can be a profitable venture for Pronto.
    I talked to two people that were dedicated bike commuters that were trying out the $8 one day rental just to check it out, I thought about it but my bike is more fun to ride now that I have covered it in Union flag duck tape and I have a little boom box on the front rack playing reggae. :)



    Vegan Biker, the Seattle Bike Blog piece ( ) didn’t really help ID the market. There and in the articles in the Times and PI, it looks like most of the folk are wearing spandex which kinda goes counter to the audience I thought would be the target of the program.

    Is the Chicago program working well? I like a lot of the pictures there that show folks of all shapes and sizes enjoying the rides. Not a lot of them are wearing helmets. I wonder what accident stats are like. But still getting people out on the bikes is great.

    And here’s the Mayor in street clothes and no helmet…

    Today, I’m at my biz in the U-District, so more chance to observe and in the rain even. :)



    Chicago doesn’t have any laws that require cyclists to wear helmets, so pehaps we shouldnt’ focus on whether or not they are wearing them. Interesting tidbit, bike share programs (without helmets) have reduced the numbers of head injuries among cyclists (source, source)

    I’m also curious as to who will be the primary users for the bike share.



    noob – I am also curious about who will use them. I keep checking the app (Spotcycle) and the bikes appear to be moving around so some people are using them and that is good.



    Yesterday, early evening there was a cute couple of high school kids or freshman UW. I guess they only had enough money for one Pronto bike because they were switching off about every block, holding hands with one riding, one semi-jogging on the sidewalk on University Way.

    According to the Stranger ( ):

    The Point: Bicycle share isn’t meant to be a replacement for an actual bike or a full-day bike rental. Rather, the system’s been designed for you to check out a bicycle and use it for 30 minutes or less to get to another station, where you’ll check it back in. It’s meant to offer a new transportation option for a growing city—and be accessible to folks who don’t think of themselves as urban cyclists—in tandem with a build-out of more bicycle infrastructure.

    Like VB above, I’ve got my bike all set up and it gets me everywhere I need to be, so no point for me. Still hope they can make a go of it. The Chicago Divvy program dwarfs this one. I thought the $8 was a little high, but Chicago’s daily rental is $7.



    “$8 for a day pass, and $16 for a three-day pass. “You’ll get unlimited 30-minute trips for the duration of your membership or pass,” Pronto says.

    Overtime Fees: If you take a bike for 60 to 90 minutes instead of 30, you’ll be charged an extra $7; more 8 hours means a $77 fine”

    Wait, does that mean the “day pass” is for only 30 minutes?? $8 for 30 minutes seems excessive to me. Or maybe it’s “unlimited 30 minutes rides in one day” which still seems a bit steep, considering that most likely the most someone is going to need a bike for a 30 minute window is to get there (once) and back (twice).

    It’s a shame Portland’s Yellow Bike program didn’t work out.



    It’s unlimited rides, but each ride can only be up to 30 minutes long. They are trying to encourage people to use it for short local-ish trips.
    $8, even for a whole day’s worth of rides, generates a bit of sticker shock for me, and probably for the average Seattleite. I’m no marketing dude, but even I know that you use freebies and loss-leader discounts to motivate people to start using a new system, especially when the rains, they are a’comin’. They should have set the price at $1 for a day pass through Nov. 15th, then $3 for a day pass through the end of January, in order to get people using the system even in the cool, damp, dark fall and winter.



    Seattle PI article on Pronto’s first week.

    4000 rides in the first week doesn’t sound that many. Interesting points though:

    Seattle is the only bike-share city in the nation with a helmet requirement. Houser said the “experiment” of allowing riders to pick a helmet from a helmet bin “is actually working out pretty well, so far.” The long-term goal is to use a vending machine so riders have to rent the helmets … which will ensure more helmets will be returned in addition to covering some of the costs.


    What about the hills?

    With downtown separated from Capitol Hill by, well, a big hill, riders are using bikes pretty much within neighborhoods. And, that’s what they expected, she said, since each neighborhood by itself is pretty flat.

    Looks like the pack is led by SDOT new director Scott Kubley in the grey suit.



    Well yesterday I was riding from Ballard toe the University Village and in the parking lot behind Hales I saw two people with Pronto bikes! I shouted “Yeah Pronto” and waved, they waved back. Then when I got to the Village and talked to my dinners friends I wondered how did they get to Ballard and be so relaxed about being on a Pronto bike outside what I consider the “free” areas?
    I really hope that Pronto will work here in Seattle and I hope they put in some station in Fremont and Ballard next year.



    I’m seeing the bikes being ridden several a day in the U-District along University Way and 15th NE. Seems like many riders bring their own helmets, a smaller number are using the white pronto helmets, and probably 1 in 10 aren’t wearing helmets.



    Shelly – that is great news and considering the weather, impressive.
    If the weather gets better this week! I plan to catch the bus over to the University District and check out a bike and spend the day seeing how far I can get around town in 30 minute hops!



    Hmmm, Pronto bike vandalism. Looks like the one next to the silver repainted one has been vandalized too — the two bikes described in the article were returned to different stations.

    Suspect Wanted For Renting, Repainting, Returning Cycle Share Bikes

    The suspect first rented one of Pronto’s bright-green custom-made bicycles from a bike station at 3rd Avenue and Pike Street around 5 AM on November 13th. Six hours later, he returned the bicycle to the same location, after scrawling messages and strings of numbers in permanent ink on the bike’s frame.

    Around 2PM that afternoon, the same suspect rented a second Pronto bike at Westlake Ave N and Republican Street and spent two hours coating the bike in silver paint. The suspect then returned the repainted bicycle to the Westlake and Republican station.



    Shelly – I have a friend who works for Pronto and he told me that the NY and Chicago bike share programs have a problem with vandalism.

    It must have taken some time for that paint job, I hope they make the person pay for the cleanup. And how long did it take to disfigure the Alaska logo on the other bike with a marker pen? How silly can one get?



    VeganBiker, it’s pretty crazy. The bike with the markered out Alaska Air logo looks like an extensive amount of other marker damage too. At least permanent marker “usually” comes mostly off with a quick swab or two of denatured alcohol. Not so sure on the silver paint.

    Weird though. The “suspect” used a credit card. Instantly traceable unless it was stolen. Also instantly blockable.

    Makes me wonder of the motive:
    1. “Artist” statement? — in this case willing to pay assumed.
    2. Bored?
    3. Stupidity



    Today, I rode my wheeled steed down to the Locks to cross over to the other side. As I was walking my bike through the Locks, I spotted 3 German tourists with Pronto bikes enjoying a nice picnic lunch. I tried to converse with them to let them know they were racking up quite a bill. The two women were adamant that $8 each per day was all it was costing. The guy was a little more believing. They had departed from a U-District station around 09:00 and it was 13:15 when I spotted them. Their English was far better than my German, but still not much luck convincing them.



    Shelley – boy are they in for a bit of a shock when the see what that cost them. By my reckoning when you saw them they were at 4 hours and 15 minutes into the “share”:
    First 30 minutes-$8
    next 30-60 minutes-$2
    Each additional 30 minutes- $5
    So total about $40 and they still have to take them back to a Pronto Station so another $10 -$20.
    Interesting. One could buy a cheap Fred Meyer bike for $100 and then donate it to Bike Works when you leave.



    Or for that matter they could have popped into Recycled Cycles down there on Boat St and picked up a daily rental for $30 a day. Don’t remember if that includes helmet and lock. When my sis and her son were here, we rented bikes there for them, rode to the Ferry terminal and around Bainbridge Island for quite a glorious day that was less pricey than renting car + insurance + vehicle on ferry.

    If I wasn’t so old (retirement age in another 5 weeks), I would maybe open up a bike rental business to help fill the void.

    I wonder what part of the Pronto messaging didn’t work for the German tourists? It seems pretty clear to me from Pronto’s web info. Not that I’ve ever tried to rent one.

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