History and Current Status
The City of Minneapolis partnered and supported Nice Ride Minnesota’s (NRMN) development in 2008 of the first non-profit business plan for modern public bike sharing in North America. The key goals included establishing and piloting public bike sharing as a convenient and reliable form of transportation, increasing bicycle mode share, and increasing cultural acceptance of active transportation. The business plan included a combination of public and title-sponsor funding for the capital costs and used a combination of station-sponsorship and sales revenue to cover operating costs. The City has facilitated approximately $3 million in federal funding and contributed $250,000 in city funds. In addition, NRMN engaged Blue Cross Blue Shield as the bike share title sponsor who has contributed significantly to the bike share program. The 2008 Business Plan was successful. NRM has achieved these goals, expanded using funds from multiple public sources, and become a model for over 50 similar nonprofits in other cities.
Based on the original 2008 business plan, the City applied for FHWA’s Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program federal funding to begin this new pilot for bike sharing. In April 2010, the City of Minneapolis entered into grant funded agreements with Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and NRMN that resulted in federal Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program and local funding sources to be used to start a docked bike share program. Agreement C-27786 between the City and NRMN was further amended twice for subsequent grant funding, geographic area and disbursement procedures. NRMN was started in 2010 and the Agreement term ends on August 1, 2021.
NRMN has grown the system from 65 stations and 700 bikes to 200 stations and 1,850 bikes. NRMN has worked with many partners in our region, including the Federal Highway Administration, National Park Service, MnDOT, Metro Transit, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, University of Minnesota, and the City of Saint Paul.
In 2018, NRMN proposed a new business model to respond to rapid changes in the bike-sharing industry to include dockless bicycles. NRMN published and issued Request for Proposals and selected Motivate as the preferred vendor to provide dockless services.
In 2020, NRMN received permission to replace the dockless bikes with a fleet of electric-assisted bicycles that could be locked to public bike racks and sign posts.
To prevent any interruption to a vital transportation service in the city, the City will create an amendment to extend the grant and license agreements 90 days to the end of the 2021 shared mobility season as we move towards a fall 2021 RFP for future services.