— Matt Lerner (@mrlerner) October 7, 2014
- Bike share: Monday marks the start of service for the Pronto bike share system currently serving Capitol Hill, First Hill and Seattle University, plus downtown, the U-District, Eastlake, South Lake Union, Belltown, Pioneer Square and International District. You can check out the roster of a dozen stations serving our part of Central Seattle here. You’ve probably seen the new stations magically popping up across the neighborhood. After ceremonies in Pioneer Square Monday morning, a series of inaugural rides is planned across the city’s 50 station locations. On Capitol Hill, the “launch rideout” will travel from Broadway and Harrison to the Pronto station at 11th and Pine by Cal Anderson Park. The system is expected to come online for regular operations beginning at 1 PM. Each station has docks for 12 to 20 bikes and features a kiosk where non-members can sign up for 24-hour, or multi-day passes, and or access bikes using a code. Those who pay $85 for an annual membership will be able to bypass the kiosk and check bikes out directly. The $85 annual membership grants Pronto riders unlimited 30-minute trips. There are also 24-hour passes for visitors that cost $8 and three-day passes for $16. Check out prontocycleshare.com for more information and to sign up for memberships. There are plans to expand the system to the Central District in 2015. UPDATE: We’re told that the system will have around 900 paid members at launch.
- Helmet reminder: While deploying the stations and kiosks has proven to be an amazingly fast process accomplished in a few hours, the Pronto system’s automated helmet vending machines aren’t ready yet. Officials say stations will have an honor system for helmets in the meantime. We’ve also suggested bars, restaurants and shops near the stations consider keeping a helmet or three behind the counter for customers to borrow.
- UberPEDAL: Starting Friday, bike-riding Uber customers can request a car with a bike rack. For a $5 surcharge, the app-base car service will deploy an UberX ride with a rack capable of holding up to two bikes. The move is part of a series of specialized services the sometimes controversial company is testing. UberFamily, designed for providing safe rides for children, has not yet been rolled out in Seattle. We look forward to UberPets and UberBumpingSystem.
- On-demand valet: A new “app-based valet parking service” has quietly launched in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood and may roll out soon to other parking-challenged parts of the city. For $15 a day, customers can reportedly summon the service’s “agents” to any drop-off point designated with the Zirx app within “5 to 7 minutes.” The company then “stores” the vehicle — “our comprehensive $2,000,000 insurance fully covers your vehicle and our Agents” — until you request your vehicle’s return and it is delivered within “a few minutes.”