Thoughts on Pronto

Pronto bikeshare is in serious financial trouble and may not make it until the end of March of this year. There has been a lot of talk about the future of Pronto and funding but for now I just wanted to mention a few of the things I like about Pronto.

  • It is an excellent great for connecting mass transit and your final destination. Waiting for a bus transfer and then taking said transfer sometimes feels like it takes forever and hopping on a Pronto bike can make the trip dramatically faster.

  • It provides an ideal solution for just going somewhere and not worrying about your bike. Worried about locking up your bike in a certain area at a certain time? If there is a Pronto station nearby that problem can be easily fixed.

  • It is fun, full stop. The bikes are very sturdy and while they can feel a bit slow I never feel like they will have physical problems or break down. Yeah, I realize I look like a dork while riding it but then again I run my own blog, who am I to judge?

  • Finally, cars treat you as if you have never been on a bike before and give you significant leeway. On my commuter bike I often get buzzed by cars but on a Pronto I get treated like some tourist who has no clue what they are doing. From a safety standopint, thats pretty tough to beat.

I think that Pronto had a terrible rollout (starting a bikeshare program in October?) and as multiple people have shown, it does not have the best station placement compared to a similarly sized metropolitan area.

I have had multiple problems with bike docks and the helmet locker can sometimes be unresponsive. But, even after all that, I am long on Pronto and am constantly telling people about it. I had an entry in the Pronto Data Challenge. I was even planning on doing both the Emerald City Bike Ride and Obliteride on a Pronto bike just because I thought it would be fun.

Seattle is growing, really fast in fact, and giving people as many transit options as possible will only make it that much easier for people to move around. I really hope that Pronto lasts longer than the end of March and is eventually able to expand to cover more areas. As to whether the city should step in to save it or not, we’ll leave that exercise to the reader.