Nice Ride Minnesota, the popular bike-sharing program that for five years has put its lime-green bikes on city streets, notched another record year in 2014, a spokesman said.
With the season set to close at 10 p.m. Sunday, ridership was up by about one-third from a year ago, with a projected 409,000 trips compared with about 305,000 in 2013.
“The year was a very busy year for us,” said marketing director Anthony Ongaro, who planned one final ride with fellow staffers Sunday night.
After 10 p.m. Sunday, riders can return bikes to Nice Ride Minnesota stations, but cannot initiate any new rentals.
Ongaro said that ridership grew this year without the nonprofit group adding any new bike stations in Minneapolis and St. Paul. It blew past a previous single-day record of 3,451 trips by hitting a daily peak of 4,500 trips in June or July, he said.
Nice Ride Minnesota added a 30-day membership option in 2014, but the most popular choice among users remained the day pass, Ongaro said. This year, a pilot program also was launched in Bemidji, but data on that city’s bike usage was not available Sunday.
Beginning Monday morning, bikes will be removed from the 170 Twin Cities stations, and then the stations themselves will be put in storage, a process that is expected to take about a week and a half.
A new season will begin in the first or second week of April 2015.
Last year, Ongaro said, the bike-sharing program lost about five bikes out of a fleet of 1,500.
“Minnesota Nice, you know?” he said.