Nice Ride MN: Minnesota’s Bike Share Expands
We talked with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak who told us about how they got Nice Ride MN off the ground:
"We were gonna have to build a really big system. So I went to Blue Cross and I said we wanna do this. It's gonna be a major health initiative it's gonna cost $3 million dollars, we need you to put up a million dollars. And they looked at it, and looked at it, and they said 'yes'....I was totally blown away. And then we leveraged another million and a half from a federal grant - and again, this was Oberstar - so we got that $2.5 million."
"But then because it was such a huge success Blue Cross invested another million more and we got [other organizations contributing]."
Of course any public bike share system offers its own unique challenges and is gonna need support from the community to be a success. Thanks to the Bikes Belong Foundation we're able to provide this short snapshot of the Nice Ride MN system, how it works, and where it's headed.
Bill Dossett: [00:10] This is Nice Ride Minnesota. We are a public bike share system. We started last year with 65 stations just like this one, and 700 bikes. We are expanding it already, so we’re going to end up this year with about 116 stations and probably 1200 bikes.
Bill Dossett: [00:30] A couple of ways that you can use the system, you can be an annual subscriber and an annual subscriber gets a key that looks like this one. With this key you just walk up, stick it right in there, now you can take this bicycle from this station to any other station in the system. The other way to use it is a 24 hour subscriber. A 24 hour subscriber will walk up to the pay station and put in your credit card and then you’ll have access to the system for 24 hours. You’ll use these buttons to access the bike.
Kate Wolford: [01:01] Nice Ride came to Minneapolis last year and it has far exceeded everybody’s expectations. You can go out at lunchtime, hop on a bike, go across the river to a deli, getting to my meetings downtown without having to park. It is a phenomenal easy to use system and the McKnight Foundation now has helped expand it to North Minneapolis and through a collaborative funders we’re also taking it to the central corridor, crossing into St. Paul.
R.T. Rybak: [01:26] The location of the Nice Ride bikes was primarily based on where they could be successful, but we also had some businesses that really wanted them and now that they’re successful, everybody wants them. Birchwood was a leader and they’ll be a leader in everything and so they really wanted to do it right.
Tracy Singleton: [01:41] I was super excited to have the opportunity to have a Nice Ride kiosk at the café. It makes it that much more open to the street, it makes it that much more noticeable for people that are driving by, it’s more pleasant for people who are sitting outside because they don’t have cars pulling up and car exhaust in their face when they’re trying to enjoy a really nice meal. I know it’s helped business. I’ll be outside and I’ll see a couple of people pull up on a Nice Ride and I’m like so where did you guys bike from? And often times they bike from downtown and a concierge at a hotel is if they’re from out of town has said, hey, why don’t you take a nice little ride up the river, I know a great little spot to stop and have lunch.
Bill Dossett: [02:13] This bicycle has an upright position. It’s got room for a bag, a cargo space on the front of the bike. It’s got lights that are always on. But it’s not going to be a fast bike. This is to make you comfortable going on that one mile, two mile, three mile trip.
Jay Walljasper: [02:29] You don’t have to worry about it being stolen. You don’t have to worry about where you’re going to park it. You don’t have to worry about if it’s raining when you come home. So it just gives people one more option to get around that isn’t getting in the car.
Tracy Singleton: [02:40] A lot of people in the neighbourhood use it. I’ve used it when I’ve had appointments downtown. I know some of my employees have as well.
R.T. Rybak: [02:45] You got to go big or go home. You can’t put a few around. You’re hopping on that bike, it’s like a trapeze person, you’re not going to swing on that trapeze unless you know there’s another one to grab. You know you’re not going to hop on that bike and go across town unless you know there’s a place to go.
Bill Dossett: [03:07] The highlights for us, one is the bikes are getting used, so we had 100,000 trips last year starting in June. This year through, I guess we’re into the second week of July, we’ve had over 80,000 trips taken on the bicycles. There were a lot of people that thought all these bikes would be damaged or stolen, it just has not happened. So in our first year we only lost one bicycle, and our total cost for theft and vandalism were only about $5,000, and that’s for a system that was out on the street all season long.
R.T. Rybak: [03:36]
Ours is up. Washington’s is really taking off, they threw out
their old system and brought in this new one, Denver’s is doing well,
Boston’s about to launch. The upside is it’s going to be easier
to make the case to people.