The folks over at Nice Ride Minnesota are gearing up for the 2016 riding season, which they say will start on or shortly after April 3.

By next week, crews will begin setting up the 190 stations across Minneapolis and St. Paul that are part of the popular bike-sharing program, with the shiny green bikes deployed shortly after, according to an update on its website.

The big news this year is a new payment option for walk-up or occasional users that will allow them to pay a flat rate of $4 per half-hour or to buy a three-day pass for $10. Nice Ride is instituting the option after bike-share systems in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee found success with it last year, said a posting by executive director Bill Dossett.

Nice Ride will continue to offer its season pass for $75, allowing for unlimited rides of 60 minutes or less. A 30-day pass for $18 also will be offered. It, too, allows for unlimited rides of 60 minutes or less. Both season and day-pass members will be charged $4 per half-hour for trips longer than 60 minutes.

Along with a simpler pay structure, Nice Ride says it will launch an app this summer to allow riders to skip using the pay station.

Nice Ride’s system will grow to 198 stations with the addition of eight places to sign out and return bikes. Those stations will be in the University of Minnesota area, Dosset said.

“Bike-sharing has been a huge success in this area,” he said.

Nice Ride set a record in 2015 with 483,233 rides taken. That beat the previous high of 408,495 rides in 2014. Nice Ride made its debut in Minneapolis in 2010 and has provided 1.75 million rides over six seasons.

Last year it was named as one of the 10 best in the nation by Paul DeMaio, a transportation consultant and co-author of the Bike-sharing Blog


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