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Monday, May 5, 2014

Oh Look, Seattle Got a Bike Share System Together

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Mon, May 5, 2014 at 1:44 PM

As we've explored, Seattle and Portland have faced similar challenges in finding money for a bike share system. Big sponsorships are difficult to come by, and Seattle, like Portland, had its plans thrown into chaos by the bankruptcy of the system's main supplier in January. (Both cities tapped Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share to launch their programs.)

And yet here's Seattle, today, announcing they've done it. Meet Pronto Emerald City Cycle Share.

Pronto_.jpg
  • Puget Sound Bike Share

Sure, the bikes are kind of ugly, but they exist.

The difference maker in Seattle's quest for bike share? Apparently the city's new mayor, Ed Murray, who says he was able to pull strings to find money for the system. Seattle reached a five-year, $2.5 million sponsorship deal with Alaska Airlines, the very sort of title sponsorship Alta's been looking for here (though we need $3 million more).

While Seattle apparently charged ahead in the face of uncertainty, Portland has pulled back.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is regrouping after Public Bike System Company—our planned supplier—filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. A PBOT spokesman recently told the Mercury the bureau is considering all options in deciding where to purchase docking stations (though Alta says it has that taken care of). At the same time, PBOT says it's still trying to hash out the $5.5 million in sponsorship cash it needs (and has bizarrely indicated in both payments to Alta and a grant application to the Oregon Department of Transportation it has in hand).

The 500-bike Pronto system launches in September, right before the rains begin in earnest. Portland's 750-bike program—initially slated for spring 2013—is now scheduled for next year.

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