Shared bikes and scooters back on Minneapolis streets

Photo by Henry Pan

Lyft, Lime, and Spin are back with their bikes and scooters this year. The city of Minneapolis awarded a bike-share license to San Francisco-based Lyft, which operated Nice Ride in years prior. Lyft also won the scooter license, along with San Francisco companies Lime and Spin. They can be ridden and parked anywhere, even perhaps on Minneapolis parkland by the time this story comes out.

The licenses issued by the City last one year and are renewable annually until 2026.

Some changes this year

Users may notice it’s a bit more expensive to ride them. Lyft now charges 39 cents per minute for e-bikes and scooters, up from 22 cents plus $2.50, with a $4.60 minimum fare. The green pedal bikes now cost 17 cents per minute—up nine cents from last year—with a $2 minimum fare.

Lyft also increased their monthly membership price from $6 to $10, and their annual membership to $99 from $89. A Spokesman-Recorder visit to one station in downtown Minneapolis found that users apparently cannot purchase single rides or memberships from kiosks. Lyft did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Meanwhile, Lime charges a $1 start fee, plus 32 cents per minute, whereas Spin charges $1 to start, plus 39¢ per minute.

All three companies continue to offer discounts for low-income riders on food stamps, Medicaid, or energy assistance through Nice Ride’s “Nice Ride for All” program; Lime’s “Lime Access” program; and Spin’s “Spin Access” program. The Nice Ride for All program also offers a discount for college students receiving federal aid.

Meanwhile, the city of Minneapolis did not issue a license to Bird, a decision that Bird is appealing. The city’s scooter compliance dashboard showed Bird struggled to keep its scooters properly parked, and the Star Tribune and the Minnesota Reformer found it was struggling to make them available in low-income neighborhoods.

Bird said in a May 11 press release that it was testing Google’s augmented reality technology to ensure users adequately parked their scooters in San Diego, San Francisco, and New York City. Meanwhile, they are the only scooter company to operate in St. Louis Park, Golden Valley, Brooklyn Park, and Hopkins; they also operate in Duluth, Hastings, New Ulm, Grand Rapids, and southeastern Mankato.

Photo by Henry Pan

In Minneapolis parks and St. Paul

You may have seen Nice Ride stations on Minneapolis parkland that are closed. That is because the park board, which worked with the City to find bike-share and scooter share vendors, is about to finish negotiating an agreement with the companies. The park board anticipates passing an agreement during its May 18 meeting, with users being able to dock and unlock bikes and scooters on parkland the day after.

The city of St. Paul continues to negotiate with bike-share and scooter-share companies interested in operating in the city. “We do not have any executed agreements regarding bike-sharing in St. Paul, but hope to have more information to share soon,” said Transportation and Public Works Director Reuben Collins.