10,000 Trips In the Land of 10,000 Lakes - Day 20 Update

Share   |  Posted Jun. 30, 2010 by Bill Dossett

At about 6am on June 30th, the 10,000th trip was taken on a Nice Ride Minnesota bike! Over 3,900 24-hour subscriptions have been purchased. So far we have over 450 1-year and 30-day subscribers.

We've installed 58 bike share stations. There are currently around 450 bikes on the street, with a few more at Freewheel for minor repairs. We've been adding approximately 15 bikes a day as usage increases. Freewheel has completed assembly of all 700 bikes purchased for Phase 1.

Here's a rundown on location changes from the paper maps printed in May (for the latest information on station locations, check out the real time map ).

  • We added a station on 2nd Avenue North and North 4th Street (under the C-Ramp skyway) to serve Target Field and the rail stop.
  • Installation of stations at 24th and Hennepin, Franklin and Nicollet, and 27th and Nicollet have been held up due to permit issues. We believe those issues are resolved and expect to have the stations in by the end of the week.
  • We are applying for permits for locations in Elliot Park and near International Market Square and Summit Academy.

We have been rebalancing with one truck and trailer working approximately 6am to 1am every day. This truck moves bikes from full staions to empty ones throughout the day. As usage increases, we will add a second during peak periods.

Losses due to theft and vandalism have been within our projections. Two bicycles have been checked out with stolen credit cards. One of these was recovered quickly undamaged. We are still working on the recovery of the second. If you ever see a Nice Ride bike parked in place where it probably doesn't belong, give our customer service line a call. We'll come pick it up.

The most common calls to our customer service line have been about preauthorization holds on debit cards, trip fees, and requests for more stations. Here's an update on each:

  • The decals we added on each station have reduced the number of people surprised by holds placed on credit/debit cards. We are working on a software update and changes to our deposit policy to address holds placed on cards. In the meantime, if you need to have a hold on your card released (they automatically expire within 3-10 days, depending on your bank), call our customer service line at 1-877-551-6423.
  • Bike sharing is new, so naturally there is some confusion over how it works. One of the most difficult parts for users to understand has been the fee structure. Just like in Montreal, Paris, Barcelona, and over 130 other cities, Minneapolis will figure it out quickly. The key: use the bike for short trips between stations to avoid trip fees; the clock restarts every time you check your bike in, giving you another 1/2 hour with no fees. Some people would like to take a bike for 24 hours and keep the bike in their apartment or office when they're not riding it. If that were how it worked, there would be no bikes left at the stations for other to use. If you have it figured out, please tell a friend.
  • Our goal has been to build a highly functional system serving a core service area and expand quickly from there. Every day we receive requests to add bike share stations on all sides of the city (they even want a station up in Big Lake!). We are starting work now on planning and fundraising for Phase 2 and will take all of these requests into consideration. Nice Ride Minnesota has committed to prioritize North Minneapolis in Phase 2. If there are places you'd like to see us expand, please let us know.

Some of you may have experienced times in the past weeks when you could not check out a bike for a few minutes after returning one. That was caused by a software hiccup that is now fixed. In the Nice Ride system, there should never be waiting period between trips.

Throughout July, we will be hosting events to demonstrate how to explore Minneapolis using Nice Ride. Let us know how you're using Nice Ride, send us an e-mail or post on our Facebook page. Your story will inspire others to go for a ride!

Thanks for supporting Nice Ride Minnesota. We're still learning. Keep the suggestions coming!


8 Previous comments:

(1) On July 1, 2010, swanberg () said:
I'm loving the system already! You are very responsive and it's clear you care a lot about the project.

My only real complaint is the 30 min 'limit'. I would totally use these to go get lunch, but that ends up being about 45 min. And the stations aren't by the food to recheck the bike, or to get a new bike for the ride back. (Station placement is fine, not complaining about that.)

I'd like to be able to bring along my own lock, and lock the bike for 15/20 min while I eat. Please increase the limit to 45 min or 1 hr.
(2) On July 1, 2010, RFP () said:

Keeping the bike out for 60 minutes only adds $1.50 to your ride. Skip the soda at lunch, you'll come out even (and healthier!).

Hopefully the system will continue to succeed, and they'll add a station near your lunch place. You shouldn't hesitate to request a new location, there might be a lot of other people angling for the same thing.
(3) On July 2, 2010, Constance Hill () said:
I work downtown, and I see the bikes a lot. I've got questions. If your errand is too far from a station, should you plan on locking the bike? If you're keeping stats on trip lengths, I would be interested in a chart of times, especially as people get used to the details of the service.
(4) On July 2, 2010, Tom () said:
swanberg, I've used bike sharing in other cities and in most systems it is explicitly forbidden to ever use a private lock on a bike-share bike - the reason being that it circumvents the very intention of the system. Hopefully coverage will improve to help with this, but the intention is that all trip be one-way trips - not round trips where you keep the bike during your intended reason for the trip.
(5) On July 2, 2010, Dan () said:
What is the Seasonal End & Start Dates-deployment? I cant wait for more around town. Including St. Paul?
May it be one day, that one of the first 'signs' of spring will be the deployment of the Nice Ride's(please make this early, not June 1st.) - Love it.
(6) On July 2, 2010, Ben () said:
Loving the nice ride system! I disagree that the 30 minute limit is a problem, if you absolutely need a bike for longer than 30 minutes, pay the fee (dont see a problem with bike locks here, if you are willing to pay the rental fee than by all means use your own lock right?) But the stations are so close together that it seems like it doesnt ever take more than 10 minutes to make it to the next closest station... Just plan on walking the 3-4 blocks at the end of your trip. Its a lot more exercise but it won't kill you!
(7) On July 5, 2010, April () said:
I'd love to see a station at the 38th St Light Rail stop. Just a little further south would make a huge difference for me and would definitely increase my usage. I could go nurse my baby at lunchtime and get some exercise if it went that far! I'm a one-year subscriber regardless though. :)
(8) On July 7, 2010, Al () said:
I visited Minneapolis for the first time July 1-3. the Nice Ride bikes allowed me to see more of your great city than I would have just by foot. Renting by day with a credit card was hassle free. I hope there are eventually stations in Northeast and farther out of downtown.

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From the FAQ

How do I return a bike?

Push the front wheel of the bike firmly into the bike dock until the green light on the dock comes on. The green light indicates that the bike is locked and properly returned. If the red light on the bike dock stays on, remove the bike and try another empty bike dock. The bike remains your responsibility until it is properly returned.