Nice Ride Minnesota

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Nice Ride Minnesota
Bikes at a Nice Ride MN station
Bikes at a Nice Ride MN station
LocaleMinneapolis – Saint Paul, Minnesota
Transit typeBicycle sharing system
Number of stations190
Began operationJune 10, 2010
Number of vehicles1,700

Nice Ride Minnesota is a seasonally operated nonprofit bicycle sharing system in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota based on the BIXI brand created by Public Bike System Company and first used in Montreal. Launched on June 10, 2010, it served over 10,000 trips in its first month and reached 100,817 rides in the first season of operation.[1][2] The bicycles in the system are manufactured by Cycles Devinci. They are painted fluorescent green and include a cargo carrier and headlights. They receive daily maintenance, and are redistributed throughout the system via truck.[3]

The system presently offers 1,700 bicycles for rent at 190 kiosks in both Minneapolis and St. Paul.[4] The solar-powered kiosks are distributed throughout much of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Bike availability can be checked in real-time via smartphone or an online map. In the long term, the network is intended to cover most of Minneapolis and St. Paul.[3] Nice Ride operates from the first week of April through the first week of November. The bikes and stations are removed during the winter in order to protect them from damage (particularly corrosion from road salt) and make way for snow plows.[5]

Memberships and fees[edit]

There are two ways to use the Nice Ride system, as a passholder or a member. Passes are available for 24 hours or 30 days and memberships include 30-day and 1-year options. Memberships must be purchased or redeemed through the Nice Ride website, while passes can be purchased by credit or debit card at individual station kiosks for $6 (24 hours) or $18 (30 days). Members receive an RFID "key" which is inserted into a slot on the bike dock to unlock a bike. Using a key to unlock a bike only takes a few seconds, while the process of purchasing a 24-hour or 30-day pass and getting subsequent rentals requires more user interaction with the kiosk.[6]

There is no limit to the number of trips allowed during a pass or membership period. For passholders, there is no additional charge for the first 30 minutes of each trip. Alternately, members get a full 60 minutes between stations with no additional charge. However, trip fees can rack up quickly—particularly after 90 minutes without redocking the bike—reaching up to a daily limit of $65 after 7 hours of use (in addition to any pass or membership fee).[6] This fee structure is designed to encourage short trips, keep bikes available, and push customers desiring multi-hour trips to use for-profit rental businesses rather than the subsidized bike-share service. Only about 2% of trips incur any fees.

In the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Nice Ride placed an authorization hold on the credit or debit accounts of 24-hour subscribers per bicycle rented (24-hour subscribers can rent two bikes per credit/debit card at a time).[7] The holds were initially set at $250 when system was launched in 2010, which caused problems for some customers—particularly those who had used debit cards, where it was possible cause an account overdraft.[8] Prior to the system's launch, there was a concern that a large percentage of the bicycles would be stolen—especially in light of the Vélib' system in Paris, France, which had a theft rate of more than 50% in its first 18 months,[9] and previous experience with theft and vandalism of free bikes provided by the Yellow Bike Coalition in Saint Paul a decade earlier.[10] However, those worries proved to be unfounded with the new Bixi-based system—only one bike was counted as stolen in the 2010 season, and no bikes were lost or stolen in 2011. The authorization holds were reduced to $50 a few months after the June 2010 opening and were removed entirely for 2012.[11]

System rollout and expansion[edit]

The Nice Ride system was first put in place in areas near downtown Minneapolis and has been expanded in multiple phases. The system expanded into western areas of neighboring Saint Paul in summer 2011 and had its first stations deployed in downtown Saint Paul in June 2012, bringing the total number of bikes to 1,328 and stations to 146.[12][13] In May 2013, the system were further expended with the installation of 24 additional stations, mostly located in southern Minneapolis or along the Mississippi River,[14] raising the total number of bikes to 1,550 and the total number of stations to 170.[15]

Nice Ride was criticized by residents in North Minneapolis, an economically disadvantaged part of the city, when the initial deployment of bikes in June 2010 was focused around downtown Minneapolis and areas south of downtown (which tend to be more densely populated than the city's north side). It took until the second phase of deployment in 2010 for the neighborhood to get stations.[16] The first stations in North Minneapolis appeared along Broadway and at Summit Academy and International Market Square.[17]

Startup funding for this program was $3.2 million; major contributors included Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, the City of Minneapolis, and a federal transportation grant from the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program.


Year Date opened Date closed Days in operation Ridership Ridership per day Stations
2010 June 10 November 7[1] 150 100,817[1][2] 672[18] 65[18]
2011 April 8[19] November 6[20] 212 217,530[21] 1,026[18] 116[18]
2012 April 2[22] November 4[23] 216 274,045[24][25] 1,269[18] 145[18]
2013 Before April 10[26] November 3[27] 207 305,000[28] 1,473 170[28]
2014 April 11 November 2 205 409,000[29] 1,995 170[30]
2015 April 1 November 1 214 483,223[31] 2,258 190[32]
2016 April 4[33] November 6[34] 216 432,284[35] 2,001 198[30]
2017 April 3[35] November 5[36] 216 460,718[37] 2,133 201[38]


The platform behind the bike share system is created by 8D Technologies, who also supply the server technology for BIXI Montréal, Citi Bike in New York City, Santander Cycles in London, Capital Bikeshare in Washington DC, and others.

Future Plans[edit]

On January 16, 2018, Nice Ride Minnesota announced[39] that it had chosen Motivate's proposal for transition of the Twin Cities’ bike share system.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Mitch Vars (November 9, 2010). "2010 Season Comes to a Close with Over 100,000 Rides". Nice Ride Minnesota. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Andre Eggert (November 10, 2010). "Nice Ride program tops first-year goals". Minnesota Daily. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Danielle Nordine (June 9, 2010). "Minneapolis to launch bike-share system". Minnesota Daily. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
  4. ^ Goodyear, Sarah (2 August 2011). "Bikeshare makes for a Nice Ride in Minneapolis". Grist. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  5. ^ "Nice Ride 2011 season ends November 6". Nice Ride Minnesota. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  6. ^ a b "How it Works". Nice Ride Minnesota. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  7. ^ "Subscriptions". Nice Ride MN. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
  8. ^ Tom Held (July 1, 2010). "A glitch in the system: Minneapolis bike share creating cash flow problems". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
  9. ^ "Thefts puncture Paris bike scheme". BBC News. February 10, 2009. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
  10. ^ "Yellow Bike Program Keeps Pedaling Away". St. Paul Pioneer Press. September 16, 1995. p. 1B. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
  11. ^ "Nice Ride Now Open". Cycle Twin Cities. April 3, 2012. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
  12. ^ Bill Dossett (March 21, 2012). "2012 Nice Ride Season Begins 1st Week of April". Nice Ride Minnesota. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
  13. ^ "Nice Ride Minnesota Announces Locations for New Stations". Nice Ride MN. Archived from the original on 2013-08-13. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  14. ^ Google (July 10, 2013). "Nice Ride Planned 2013 Expansion Locations" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
  15. ^ "Nice Ride Minnesota Adds 24 More Stations". CBS Minnesota. May 28, 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
  16. ^ Brandt Williams (June 23, 2010). "North Mpls. cyclists feel left out of bike sharing program". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
  17. ^ Hart Van Denburg (June 25, 2010). "The Blotter: North Minneapolis may see some Nice Ride action". City Pages. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
  18. ^ a b c d e f Jessica Schoner (December 21, 2012). "2012 Best Trend (Hint: It's not the Apocalypse)". Streets.MN. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
  19. ^ Mitch Vars (April 9, 2012). "2011 Season Kicks Off with a Few Issues". Nice Ride Minnesota. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  20. ^ Mitch Vars (October 27, 2011). "Nice Ride 2011 season ends November 6". Nice Ride Minnesota. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  21. ^ Ross Abbey (November 16, 2011). "Minnesota bike-sharing system records a winning season". Fresh Energy. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  22. ^ "Drum roll please..." Twitter / Nice Ride Minnesota. April 2, 2012. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
  23. ^ "Today is the last day..." November 4, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  24. ^ "274,045 - thanks everyone, see you in April!". Twitter / Nice Ride Minnesota. November 4, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  25. ^ Brandt Williams. "Record year for Nice Ride bike share". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  26. ^ "Notice of system shutdown due to weather".. Note the system was partially shut down several days in April 2013 and these days were not taken off of the count of active days.
  27. ^ "Nice Ride 2013 Season ends November 3rd". Retrieved November 16, 2013.
  28. ^ a b "Nice Ride Minnesota: Ambitious plans set for 2014 season". Retrieved November 16, 2013.
  29. ^ "Nice Ride Minnesota pedals to a banner year, weighs winter cycling". Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  30. ^ a b 2015-16 Annual Report (PDF) (Report). Nice Ride Minnesota. p. 25. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  31. ^ "Official Tally: 483,223 trips in 2015, up from 408,485 in 2014". Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  32. ^ "Adding 20 New Stations to The Nice Ride System". Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  33. ^ "Nice Ride launches 2016 season with renewed support from title sponsor". Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Center for Prevention. March 30, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  34. ^ Mitch Vars (October 26, 2016). "Last Day of Season - Sunday Nov 6th". Nice Ride Minnesota. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  35. ^ a b Tim Harlow (March 28, 2017). "Nice Ride Minnesota headed for Monday opening". Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  36. ^ Mitch Vars (October 23, 2017). "Last Day of Season - Sunday Nov 5th". Nice Ride Minnesota. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  37. ^ "System Data". Nice Ride Minnesota. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  38. ^ Bill Dossett (August 28, 2017). "Request for Proposals for Transition of Twin Cities Bike Sharing System". Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  39. ^ "Nice Ride MN - Nice Ride Minnesota Chooses Motivate". Archived from the original on 2018-04-10.

External links[edit]