Nice Ride: equipment supplier not meeting terms of contract

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The bike sharing program Nice Ride Minnesota is happy about its growing popularity but not so thrilled about the company supplying its equipment.

As the Montreal Gazette reports, Nice Ride has filed a "notice of material breach" against the Montreal-based non-profit Public Bike System Co. (PBSC), claiming the company is not fulfilling the terms of a contract signed in 2010. The filing is not a lawsuit but the Gazette reports it is sometimes a prelude to a suit or to cancellation of a contract.

Nice Ride plans to collect its green bikes this weekend after a season that saw a nine percent increase in rides and more of its bike racks sprouting across the Twin Cities.

In the annual report posted on its website, Nice Ride expands on the success of 2013, but devotes the very last paragraph to its relationship with its supplier, PBSC. Nice Ride mentions PBSC's financial challenges and its plans to restructure before noting it filed the notice of breach.

A Nice Ride representative would not give the Gazette specifics about how PBSC has fallen short of its contract terms. The newspaper says PBSC provides software as well as bikes and other equipment to Nice Ride.

According to The Atlantic PBSC's latest numbers show a $42 million debt. The article notes that the company's financial problems could have far-reaching implications for bike sharing, since PBSC supplies programs in many cities including Washington, D.C.; New York City; London, England; and Melbourne, Australia.

Nice Ride Minnesota allows users to pay a fee for the short-term use of bikes at locations scattered across the Twin Cities. It says it provided 300,000 rides on its 1,500 bikes this year. Next spring the company plans to expand to Bemidji and is studying a move into Rochester, as well.

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