- Nice Ride Minnesota has chosen two finalists in its search for a business to revamp its Twin Cities bike-share system: LimeBike and Motivate International.
- Nice Ride requested proposals for a plan to transition it from a traditional bike-share system to a dockless one.
- No final timeline has been announced, but the dockless system could debut next spring.
The dockless bike-share craze has swept the U.S. over the past six months. Although most cities with existing bike-share systems have introduced dockless to supplement and compete with traditional systems, Minnesota's plan is different. Nice Ride will phase out its traditional system and docking stations during its transition to dockless bikes.
Nice Ride is a nonprofit organization and the funding for the bike-share system comes from a combination of public and private funding. The new dockless system will be operated by one of the privately-owned businesses. Because U.S. dockless bike-sharing businesses are new and subsidized by venture capital, Nice Ride sought out proposals for a system that could thrive after the end of the venture capital boom.
Nice Ride requested a scalable system so it could expand, potentially up to 10,000 bikes, compared with the current 1,850. It also wanted a cheaper system that's more focused on equity, to make sure all citizens have bike-share access regardless of location and socioeconomic status. Both finalists have agreed to develop equity strategies.
Another aspect that makes Nice Ride different from most other bike-share systems in the U.S. is that it's only a seasonal service. Because of Minnesota's winter weather and restrictions on parking bikes due to snow clearing, the service typically runs from the first week of April to the first week of November and the bikes are stored in the winter. The new privately-owned dockless business likely will need a plan for profitability that looks different than in cities that have more operating months.