3 Month Update

Share   |  Posted Sep. 15, 2010 by Mitch Vars, Bill Dossett

On June 10, 2010, Nice Ride Minnesota launched the nation's largest public bike-sharing system. When we cut the ribbon and turned the system on, 42 stations were operating with approximately 350 bikes on the street. In mid-July, we reached our current size - 65 stations operating with 600 bikes on the street.1

With expansion planning getting started for 2011, Nice Ride MN is publishing this short summary of how we got here, our experience over the first three months, and the planning process for future expansion. This report includes data through August 31, 2010.

1Nice Ride MN owns 700 bikes; the system currently balances best with 600 bikes in service.

How We Got Here

Nice Ride Minnesota was formed through the Twin Cities Bike Share Project, an initiative started by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation in July 2008. After meeting with stakeholder groups and evaluating bike share systems, the Project prepared a non-profit business plan and sought public and private funding. Bike/Walk Twin Cities (a program of Transit for Livable Communities funded through the Federal Highway Administration) announced its financial support in March of 2009, responding to a major funding commitment by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Center for Prevention (funded through the historic tobacco litigation settlement). We held our first board of directors meeting in April of 2009. Three months later, the board approved the Phase 1 Public Bike Kiosk Location Recommendations report prepared by Alta Planning, specialists in bike and pedestrian planning. In early 2010, we selected Public Bike System Co. (developers of the Montreal Bixi bike share system) to supply our bike share equipment and formed relationships with two local businesses, Freewheel Bike Shop and Sieco Construction, to help us assemble and install the bike share equipment.

The creation of Nice Ride Minnesota is a remarkable story of cooperation by local professionals-all donating their time - to create something great for Minneapolis. Each of these firms donated hundreds of hours of staff time to make Nice Ride Minnesota a reality: Dorsey & Whitney (legal), Duffy & Partners (design), Mono (marketing), Grant Thornton (accounting), Roepke (P.R.), and Clockwork Active Media Systems (web development).

The major contribution of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota was essential to the creation of Nice Ride Minnesota and our ability to receive public funding. Following that contribution, many local companies also stepped forward to provide substantial financial donations, including Target, Gold'n Plump Poultry, Dorsey & Whitney, Grant Thornton, Abbot Northwestern, Peace Coffee, Augsburg College, Aveda, MCAD, Ameriprise, Freewheel Bike, Seward Co-op, Birchwood Cafè, Bryant Lake Bowl and the Red Stagg Supper Club, Dero Bike Rack Company, Equal Exchange, Wedge Co-Op, U.S. Bank, and Xcel Energy.

Nice Ride MN used the funds from these sources to purchase 65 bike share stations, 700 bikes, 2 electric vehicles, and all of the other equipment needed to operate the bike sharing system. Those stations were installed by Sieco Construction in a service area tightly focused on downtown Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota campus, and nearby commercial areas. During the summer months, Nice Ride employed 13 employees: a seven-person bike maintenance crew, a technician, an accountant, an outreach manager, an I.T. director, an operations director, and an executive director.

Three Month Experience - The Data

Total trips by bike for all subscribers: 57,645

  • Yearly, student and 30-day trips: 23,703
  • Casual (24hr) trips: 33,942

Bikes missing presumed lost: 2

Significant incidents of vandalism >$100: 2

Reports of accidents with injury involving Nice Ride bikes: 0

Number of subscriptions sold:

Pie Chart: Subscriptions by type

Yearly standard rate ($60.00) : 963
Yearly student rate ($50.00) : 143
30-day ($30.00) 71

Total: 1177

Casual 24hr. ($5.00) subscriptions sold: 20,489


Yearly and 30-day subscriber demographics

Pie Chart: Yearly and 30-day subscribers by gender

Female: 38%
Male: 62%
Average age: 39 yrs
Average female age: 40 yrs
Average male age: 39 yrs
Maximum age:73 yrs


Length of trips, prevalence of trip fees
(all numbers 8/1/2010 - 8/31/2010)

Pie Chart:  Yearly and 30-day trips by length

97.4% of trips by yearly and 30-day subscribers were under 30 minutes and incurred no trip fees.







Pie Chart:  Casual (24 hr) trips by length

66.2% of trips by casual (24hr) users were under 30 minutes and incurred no trip fees.

Casual users were generally less familiar than other subscribers with the bike sharing concept and how the fee structure worked. Of the remaining 33.8% which did incur fees, a substantial amount of these fees was refunded for first time users. We’ve made a number of improvements to the touch screen user interface and station signage to address confusion among casual (24hr) users.


Revenue  5/26 – 8/31

Pie Chart: : Revenue by type

Subscriptions:Yearly ($60) : $62,277
Student ($50) : $7,706
30-day ($30) : $2,295

24hr subscriptions  ($5) : $112,376

Trip fees:  $59,593




Where Our Subscribers Come From





Where People Are Using Nice Ride









Where We're Going

From the beginning, Nice Ride's plan has been to start with a central core to demonstrate the value and viability of public bike share, and then expand quickly as funding becomes available.

In June, the Nice Ride Board of directors identified North Minneapolis as a priority. Funding for expansion in North Minneapolis including at least 6 additional stations has already been identified. This funding comes from the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative (made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and Bike Walk Twin Cities, which invests federal funds to increase biking and walking in Minneapolis and surrounding communities.

Nice Ride MN is currently seeking funding for a major expansion of the bike share system. A community engagement process intended to solicit public input on potential locations for expansion is underway now.

Download the Full Report

3 Month Summary (docx : 231KB) Minneapolis Subscribers by Zipcode (pdf: 1.3MB) Metro Area Subscribers by Zipcode (pdf: 1MB) Rentals Per Station (pdf: 1.3MB)

10 Previous comments:

(1) On September 15, 2010, Deb () said:
Putting NR at Light Rail Stations is a no-brainer. Riders could combine a NR with a rail trip to or from the Mall, airport, downtown, Fort Snelling or Minneahaha Park. It would open people's minds to the idea of using bikes to combine with other forms of public transit instead of driving. It would do our city a world of good!
(2) On September 15, 2010, Ariah () said:
Excellent report thanks for sharing.
(3) On September 17, 2010, Sara () said:
I see a lot of NR bikers around the lakes. I would love it if you would add stations @: 50th & France; 44th & France; 50th & Xerxes; & Linden Hills. Keep up the good work Nice Ride!
(4) On September 17, 2010, Steve Hoyt-McBeth () said:
This is a great and informative report. Cheers to Nice Ride!
(5) On September 19, 2010, Jason () said:
I totally love my niceride subscription! Clocked in 50 miles / 50 trips so far and I fulltime commute on my other bikes.

Totally looking forward to phase 2!
(6) On September 20, 2010, Ref Lindmark () said:
Sounds like a great kickoff season for Nice Ride. This is encouraging for expanding the program as funds become available.
(7) On September 20, 2010, Ryan (http://www.walkerart.org) said:
Great report. The Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden are thrilled to be on the NR map. Congrats on the early success!
(8) On September 20, 2010, Jake () said:
A great initiative. I love using it. Lots of places to expand coverage. I would suggest more in south Minneapolis. There is a large void along Lake St, near Hiawatha.

Looks like subscribership is minimal in the suburbs. There are many who do commute in to the city by bus, yet are not taking advantage of this service. I hope they can eventually include a NiceRide in their daily commutes

Also, I think it would be helpful if NiceRide could take the initiative in boosting awareness by car users of the rights of bikers. Even though Minneapolis was voted the most bike-friendly city in the country, that only says so much in a country which has a lot of hostility towards bikers. Commercials and ad campaigns I think would help educate car drivers.

Keep the program going, it's great!
(9) On September 21, 2010, Sandra Carney () said:
Is anybody aware of similar plans on the part of Saint Paul? Many poor people who can't even afford the $85 per month all-you-can ride bus cards. A Nice-Ride analog would be good.
(10) On October 13, 2010, Beth () said:
I would LOVE to have a bike station at Como Park in St. Paul! I would be your first subscriber!

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