Thursday, June 10, 2010
Minneapolis Makes Three
America's first 3rd generation (high tech) bike-sharing service launched in August 2008 with SmartBike DC, in April 2010 Denver B-cycle launched, and today marks the launch of the U.S.'s third, and largest, bike-sharing service with Minneapolis's Nice Ride Minnesota. The service is beginning with 700 bikes and 65 stations with plans to expand to 1,000 bikes and 75 stations over the coming weeks in downtown and close-in neighborhoods of Minneapolis as well as the University of Minnesota. Due to Minneapolis's harsh winters, Nice Ride will be available for use between April and November. The annual subscription cost is $60, with a student rate of $50.
Nice Ride Minnesota, a non-profit, is the organization operating the service using Public Bicycle System Co.'s technology. According to Nice Ride's website, "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." The service was funded through a Federal Highway Administration grant and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Center for Prevention (funded through a tobacco litigation settlement).
With Minneapolis ranking 2nd in the nation for the number of people who commute to work by bicycle as well as being named America's most bike-friendly city by Bicycling Magazine, Minneapolis just got a lot more bike-friendly. Look out Amsterdam and Copenhagen, Minneapolis is pedaling fast to catch up.
image: Nice Ride Minnesota website and Flickr account