As Seattle’s transportation director, Scott Kubly oversaw the failure of a city-owned bike-share outfit and then the resurgence of a new breed of privately owned bike-share companies.
Scott Kubly, who left a bike-sharing company to run the Seattle Department of Transportation, is going back to work for another bike-sharing company.
Kubly will be the chief program officer, working on business development and government relations, for LimeBike, one of the three private, stationless bike-share companies operating in Seattle.
Kubly, who lives in Seattle, will commute to and from San Mateo, California, where LimeBike is based.
Kubly resigned as SDOT director in December, shortly after Mayor Jenny Durkan took office. Durkan’s spokeswoman called his departure a “mutual decision.”
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Before becoming SDOT director, Kubly was president of Alta Bike Share, the company that ran Seattle’s now-shuttered bike-share system, Pronto. The city bought Pronto for $1.4 million in 2016 but shut it down last year as it struggled with low ridership.
Kubly paid a $5,000 fine because he failed to recuse himself or obtain a waiver to work on matters related to Pronto.
Before his work with Alta, Kubly worked in the transportation departments of Chicago and Washington, D.C.
GeekWire, the Seattle-based tech site, first reported Kubly’s hiring.
Although he’ll be working in government relations, Kubly will not be permitted to lobby the city as it looks to make stationless bike share permanent.
City ethics rules bar Kubly from working with SDOT on any subject for one year. He is barred from working with SDOT on any transportation-related issues for two years.
Kyle Rowe, a former SDOT employee who worked under Kubly to develop the city’s bike-share program, left the city in November to work for Spin, another one of the bike-share companies operating here.
Despite Pronto’s failure, Kubly’s department was behind the resurgence of bike share in Seattle, allowing LimeBike and two other stationless bike-share companies to operate freely on city streets.
“I can walk into cities and I can credibly say I understand some of the challenges you’re dealing with and we as a company are focused on making sure we’re operating a tight ship,” Kubly said.
Seattle was the first major American city to welcome this new breed of bike-sharing companies — bikes do not have to be docked when not in use and can be picked up and dropped off almost anywhere. The companies launched within months of approaching the city, a speediness enabled by the relatively laissez-faire approach that SDOT took to regulation.
The bike shares are still operating on a trial basis through July, with the City Council expected to consider permanent regulations this spring.
All three bike-share companies offer low rates — a half-hour ride for a dollar — and are funded with millions of dollars of venture-capital money.
LimeBike announced last month that it had raised $70 million from the venture-capital firm Fifth Wall, bringing its total funding to more than $130 million.