Some 500 rides per day were taken on Seattle’s new Pronto bike share with about 42% of those traveling around Capitol Hill in the system’s first week of operations, the nonprofit’s director Holly Houser tells CHS. CHS got a look at the data and found out where around Capitol Hill people rode the most in Week 1. We also took a tour of our own to visit each of the dozen new Pronto stations around Capitol Hill and First Hill.
One Capitol Hill station ranked among the top five busiest in the first week. Here are the city’s top 5 busiest Pronto stations: 3rd & Pike, Harrison & Broadway, Pier 69, REI Flagship Store, Occidental Park. The second most popular Hill station at 11th and Pine near Cal Anderson Park came in 6th.
Pronto and Seattle Department of Transportation planners will evaluate usage patterns over the coming months. If the first week of the new system is indicative, there appear to be three key stations on Capitol Hill with the bikes at Broadway and Harrison, 11th and Pine and 15th and Thomas figuring into the bulk of about 1,700 trips in the Capitol Hill area in the first week of the system’s use.
The system launched on Monday, October 13th with a Pioneer Square ceremony and celebratory rollouts in the Central Seattle neighborhoods the bike share currently serves including South Lake Union, the U-District, and Capitol Hill. For an $85 annual membership, Pronto bikers can take unlimited 30-minute or less rides. Daily passes and tourist-friendly options are also available. There are currently 50 stations around the city with plans to add more in the Central District in 2015. Pronto is also now part of the Spotcycle app available for Android and iOS. The app shows station locations and how many bikes are available at each.
In an unscientific CHS reader survey, 63% of Capitol Hill respondents said they planned to use Pronto at least a few times per year with around 32% of those who answered proclaiming at least monthly intentions to put the Sounders-green bikes to use.
By the way, the most common answer under “other” for frequent users was a variation on “it’s fun to ride a bike.”
CHS had some fun of our own earlier this week on an attempt to tour the dozen Pronto stations that serve Capitol Hill, 12th Ave, and First Hill within the system’s 30-minute time limit. We didn’t come anywhere close and another attempt to “relay” by switching bikes at each station also didn’t work out well when we discovered the system’s “three to five minute” check-in buffer. But once we quit racing, the ride on the cruiser-style bikes with a tricked-out internal gear system went mostly smoothly. They’re easy bikes to get going but we definitely recommend finding a low traffic environment to warm up in if you haven’t been on a bike in a bit. Even if you have, getting used to navigating the Hill with only seven gears takes a little time. Other features like the bike’s gradual braking also might take some adjustment as will, for many riders, the seat height. Still, in a pinch or on a commute, the bikes seem like a useful tool to have in your arsenal and should be a pleasant option on your trip for “meals or drinks.” Enjoy!