Bike-sharing operator Nice Ride Minnesota wants to scrap dockless bikes in Minneapolis next year, replacing them with 2,000 pedal-assist electric bikes instead.
The proposal has been submitted as part of the organization's 2020 plan for operating in Minneapolis next year, which would see e-bikes join Nice Ride's existing selection of docked bikes-for-hire.
By offering e-bikes, which gives riders a motorized boost as they pedal, thus making it easier to navigate inclines, Nice Ride says it would open up the possibility of longer trips, and open it up to more users who are reluctant to try the regular Nice Ride bicycles.
Lyft, which owns Nice Ride Minnesota, is looking to invest in 200 "lightweight" parking stations for the e-bikes, many of which will be at the hub sites installed this year for Nice Ride's dockless bikes.
Users will also be able to leave them at any regular Nice Ride docking station, or at any public bike rack using a cable lock attached to the bike, though Nice Ride says it will charge a $1 convenience fee if you choose to do the latter.
To hire an e-bike, Nice Ride says it will charge a fee of 10 cents per minute from the start of the rental period. Currently, a regular Nice Ride bike costs $2 for up to 30 minutes of riding, or $6 for a day pass offering unlimited 30-minute rides.
The fee would be reduced to 5 cents a minute if you're a SNAP or Transit Assistance Program (TAP) member.
"Nice Ride has been a pioneering bike share network in America, and we’re looking forward to elevating it even further come 2020,” said Caroline Samponaro, head of micromobility policy at Lyft. “Lyft can’t wait to bring a large fleet of our brand-new pedal-assist ebikes to Minneapolis next year – making it the nicest riding season yet."
Nice Ride's proposal still requires the approval of the City of Minneapolis.
City bike users have until Nov. 17 to use a regular Nice Ride bike this season, while the dockless bikes will be deactivated on Nov. 30.