Request for Proposals for Transition of Twin Cities Bike Sharing System

Share   |  Posted Aug. 28, 2017 by Bill Dossett

[ Note: The deadline to submit proposals has been extended to Friday, October 6, 2017.]

In response to recent changes in the bike sharing industry, Nice Ride is issuing a Request for Proposals for the transition the Twin Cities bike sharing system.

Nice Ride Minnesota pioneered the non-profit business model for bike sharing in 2010. With the support of our title sponsor, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, we incubated a big idea, grew quickly from 65 to 201 stations, and watched as our model was replicated in cities across North America. We made lots of adjustments and new investments along the way, including building equity into our core service and introducing people from all walks of life to biking at thousands of events. All of this was made possible by a strong public-private partnership.

Over the last six months, the bike share industry has changed and grown at levels exceeding our highest expectations. Over 20 million bikes have been deployed worldwide, with over 50 million rides per day.

The turning point was the introduction of a new business model of bikes that don’t need docking stations. These bikes can be locked and unlocked anywhere via a smartphone app, which means users don't have to return them to physical stations. These dockless bikes are less expensive to deploy and maintain than station-based bikes, offering consumers both convenience and lower costs. Fleets of the new models have been rolled out by private operators, and are deeply subsidized by venture capital. There have been challenges, however, with bikes clogging sidewalks; under-investment in quality and maintenance; and general confusion caused by rapid, uncoordinated deployment.

At Nice Ride, we are excited about more people riding bikes, getting healthy, reducing congestion, and making our cities more vibrant. It also means we have to change. We want to move proactively to invite that change in a way that will build on success, ensure quality and reliability, bake in equity from the start, capture the value of our existing bikes and stations while rapidly adding new dockless bikes, include a "Plan B" if the dockless strategy proves unsustainable, and create a collaborative relationship between the public officials who manage our right-of-way and the mobility-on-demand entrepreneurs who will use it.

So, we are releasing this RFP for Transition of the Twin Cities Bike Share System to collect a new set of big ideas. Nice Ride has always operated in an "open-source" manner. We will continue to do that through this transition. We will include local advocates, urban right-of-way owners, and all of the stakeholders who built our public-private partnership in the process of deciding where we go from here.

Nice Ride and Our Streets MPLS will host a public discussion and Q & A about bike share industry change. Join us to learn more:

Who: Nice Ride & Our Streets MPLS
What: Bike Share Industry Discussion and Q & A
When: Thursday, September 7th at 5pm
Where: Honey - 205 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

1 Previous comment:

(1) On October 8, 2017, Sherry F () said:
I hope we get a bike sharing program like this in Eau Claire Wi. We have a very active outside (lots of trails & marathons) community and I know this program would bloom here. I loved being able to rent a bike by the lake of the isles in MPLS when I was in the cities with my family. I would love it if my family could do it here when they visit.

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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.