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Private Bike-Share Companies Eye Seattle After The Death Of Pronto

Bellamy Pailthorp
Unlike the now-defunct Pronto bike-sharing system, private companies are looking to bring stationless bike-sharing to Seattle.

Private bike-share companies are looking to Seattle to see if stationless bike-sharing might be a viable alternative to the defunct Pronto system.

Three companies with bases in the Bay Area --Bluegogo, LimeBikeand Spin -- are talking with city officials to coordinate a Seattle launch. 

Pronto started out as a nonprofit with public funds before the city bought it outright. The mayor killed the system earlier this year because not enough people were using it.

"Pronto just was not big enough. It didn't have enough stations. It didn't go enough places," said Tom Fucoloro, an avid cyclist and founder of the Seattle Bike Blog.

Unlike Pronto, these new companies aren't looking for city funding. 

They also wouldn't require any stations where riders would have to pick up and return bikes. Riders would sign up for an app that would show them where the nearest bikes are. They can then ride and park the bike wherever it's legal.

This model is common in other parts of the world. But totally stationless bike-sharing hasn't really taken hold in the U.S.

"Investors think that this is going to be a big deal," Fucoloro said. "It's small yield per ride for them, but it can really change the way people get around the cities."

There are still a lot of questions about how the bikes will be maintained, helmets and whether riders will adhere to safety and parking laws.

A Seattle native and former KNKX intern, Simone Alicea spent four years as a producer and reporter at KNKX. She earned her Bachelor's of Journalism from Northwestern University and covered breaking news for the Chicago Sun-Times. During her undergraduate career, she spent time in Cape Town, South Africa, covering metro news for the Cape Times.