Down cycle: Why Nice Ride can't add more stations this year


Despite having funding for 17 new stations in place, Minnesota's popular Nice Ride bike-sharing service will not be expanding in 2014 because of the financial problems of a key vendor.

As the rental season opens and the distinctive lime green bikes return to metro roads, Streets.mn, a website focusing on land use and transportation, carried an interview with Anthony Ongaro, Nice Ride’s Director of Marketing. Ongaro explained that the bankruptcy of Bixi, the company that supplied the system's bicycles and stations did "prevent us from expanding with new stations and bikes for 2014, which was unfortunate because we did have the funding for 17 additional stations."

He added that once Nice Ride is able to purchase the additional stations, the system will "build on the existing network, not necessarily expanding outwards, but adding key connecting points to make the system more and more functional as we go."

The Business Journal added that Montreal-based Bixi filed for bankruptcy in January and that a Canadian court approved a deal for a Quebec businessman to buy the company earlier this month.

Last month, the Portland Mercury reported bike-friendly Portland, Oregon would be postponing the start of its bike-sharing system because of the supply shake-ups associated with the bankruptcy.

Ongaro said that since Nice Ride can't expand as it had planned, the system will shift its focus to "making the member experience even better" by expanding trip time to 60 minutes and adding a new 30-day subscription.

The bankruptcy will not cancel Nice Ride's plans to debut bike rentals in Bemidji this year, MPR reported. Executive Director Bill Dossett told the station places such as hotels, state parks and Bemidji State University will have for-rent rides – they will not be the lime green model, however.

The Streets blog noted that Denver and Toronto are among the cities that are operating year-round bike sharing, while Boston, New York and Chicago all operated some form of winter pilot this year. But Ongaro said that kind of a year-round service wouldn't make it in chilly Minnesota.

"We depend heavily on casual system usage (24-hour passes) to help fund our operations. When the weather goes south, the casual usage drops to practically none. In short, we’d be adding 3-5 months of operational costs without adding much revenue to help cover those costs."

Next Up

Joel Eriksson Ek

Eriksson Ek's hat trick completes Wild's rally over Jets

A late review helped the Wild win their home opener.

Screen Shot 2021-10-19 at 8.11.35 PM

Watch: Marcus Foligno starts fight with a superman punch

Foligno was not messing around in the first period.

Union Gospel Mission graffiti side by side - Duluth PD

Vandals target longstanding Duluth soup kitchen, transitional housing site

Union Gospel Mission has been operating in the city since 1922.

i-94 crash st. michael - 2021.10.19

At least 1 dead after 'serious crash' on I-94 in St. Michael

That side of the highway is expected to be closed for at least a few hours.

House for sale

The crazy Twin Cities housing market is showing signs of slowing down

Agents are seeing fewer multiple offers and no inspections are less prevalent.

Ben Simmons

Simmons' reunion with 76ers lasts mere days, chance for Wolves?

Woj says the Sixers remain "steadfast" in their plans for Simmons.

mitchell ottinger

Sub teacher involved in 'sextortion' of more than 10 minors pleads guilty

Some of the minors he knew from the school district where he worked.

flickr ice castles new brighton 2020 - Greg Gjerdingen

The Ice Castles, a winter favorite, are coming back to the Twin Cities

The popular attraction was canceled last winter due to COVID.

joey meatballs

4 new vendors coming to Rosedale's POTLUCK food hall

Three restaurants and a VR company are opening soon.

flickr - Lorie Shaull - Line 3 pipeline Palisade July 2021

Enbridge misses deadline to fix its groundwater blunder

The company had 30 days to stop the leak it caused by not following its submitted plans.

wikimedia commons - the beach boys 2019 - joergens.mi

Beach Boys bringing 2021 holiday tour to Minnesota

The iconic band's "Holiday Harmonies" tour stops at Treasure Island just before the new year.