Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as the University of Minnesota, are looking to team up on a new shared bike and scooter program for next spring.
The exact details of the program, expected to launch in 2022, aren't yet known. But the parties are currently asking vendors to submit proposals for a joint scooter and bike program, which could also feature e-bikes.
The intention of teaming up on the program is to select multiple vendors that will serve both cities and the U of M.
The overarching goal is to build on the cities' "existing programs and mobility objectives focused on equity, access for all and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions," a City of Minneapolis news release said.
The cities and U of M have launched joint solicitation requests for the bike and scooter program, requesting companies that want to be part of the program provide a "variety of shared mobility vehicles," including classic bicycles, electric-assisted bicycles and motorized foot scooters.
The City of Minneapolis says vendors will need to describe how they'll meet program requirements, which includes low-income pricing programs and distributing vehicles in accordance with city equity requirements, among other things.
The proposals received through the solicitation request will be reviewed jointly to determine which, if any, companies qualify for a license, with the City of Minneapolis noting they hope to work with vendors over a "longer term" and those that "commit to investing locally."
The City of Minneapolis launched its Nice Ride bike-sharing program in 2008 and added Bird and Lyft motorized scooters in 2018. The City of St. Paul launched its bike and scooter programs in 2011. The cities' contracts with their current bike and scooter companies have ended or will end in the coming months, prompting their launch of the joint solicitation requests.