On Pronto! bike share program, we’re owed an apology (and $1.4 million)

Jan 17, 2017, 6:17 AM

Ahead of the long weekend, Mayor Ed Murray quietly killed the epic failure known as the Pronto! bike share program, hoping he’d get hit with limited blowback.
Murray, and a majority of the Seattle City Council (in particular, Mike O’Brien), owe Seattle voters an apology and $1.4 million.

Despite knowing that a statistically insignificant number of people used the Pronto! bike share program, the city council voted 7-2 to spend $1.4 million of your tax dollars to purchase the lemon. No one had faith that the bike-share program would work, including bicycle activists (after all, they didn’t even use it); not even Seattle Department of Transportation bike leaders signed up for Pronto!

Related: Ethics investigation launched into SDOT director over Pronto bike share

Everyone knew this was a horrific investment, made especially worse given the city complaints that they’re underfunded in addressing the homelessness crisis.

But people like Councilmember O’Brien pushed hard to save Pronto! because of his ideological affinity for bike-share programs. These bike activists did what they could to excuse away the poor membership numbers (which Pronto! seemingly lied about). They blamed helmet laws, claimed there just weren’t enough Pronto! stations, and bellyached that if only we had more bike lanes, the ridership would come!
But we knew that was nonsense. It failed because the people most likely to utilize bikes were people who already owned them.

Yet we threw money at the problem hoping it would get better. We’re owed that money back.

Related: More people vandalize Pronto! bikes than ride them

What’s so troublesome is carelessness that this bad decision was made. O’Brien, for instance, told me he “spent an inordinate amount of my time on Pronto!…” He admits the time he spent on this, in relation to the SPD precinct that he helped block, was “disproportionate.” For that, he owes you and me an apology.
It’s really easy to spend other people’s money; so easy, you write $1.4 million checks on a bike-share program no one used.

Not everyone deserves to be criticized on this. In particular, Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Lisa Herbold deserve applause. Perhaps, more so, Herbold who took an unpopular opinion with her Progressive voter base. She put the city ahead of ideologues. Maybe O’Brien and Murray should take note.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Olympia, state House...
KTTH staff

New state Senator Simon Sefzik views his young age ‘as an asset’

The 42nd Legislative District has a new state senator: 22-year-old Simon Sefzik. He tells the Jason Rantz Show he's excited to learn and get to work.
9 hours ago
seattle police, traffic stops...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: New equity policy bars Seattle Police from some traffic stops, opens door to more car theft

Seattle Police are now barred from many non-criminal traffic stops after activists claimed concerns over equity.
3 days ago
Sheriff Fortney...
KTTH staff

Snohomish County Sheriff Fortney will run for re-election after failed recall effort

After a failed recall effort against him last year, Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney says he will run for office again in 2023.
4 days ago
MultiCare hospitals...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: MultiCare hospitals order symptomatic COVID-positive staff to see patients

MultiCare Health Systems is forcing COVID-positive staff to work at its area hospitals, the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH has learned.
5 days ago
Redistricting ,senator...
KTTH staff

State senator escorted out after not submitting negative COVID test

State Senator Phil Fortunato was escorted out of the Legislative building in Olympia because he had not submitted a required negative COVID test.
5 days ago
King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht, coronavirus...
KTTH staff

‘They never could figure me out’: Former King County Sheriff looks back on shortened tenure

Former King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht left office at the end of 2021, and spoke to KTTH's Jason Rantz Show this week to reflect on her tenure.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
On Pronto! bike share program, we’re owed an apology (and $1.4 million)