Nice Ride Minnesota will have its fleet on the streets around April 1, and this year users of the popular bike sharing program will have 20 new stations to check out one of the shiny green bikes.
Once the new stations and 200 new bikes are deployed mid-season, Nice Ride will have 190 stations throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul, said spokesman Anthony Ongaro.
The early arrival of bike riding weather is allowing Nice Ride crank up a couple weeks earlier than last year when cold and snowy weather delayed the start of the season.
"We will be working over the next week and a half to deploy stations across the Twin Cities," Ongaro said. " If all goes well, we should be up and running by April 1st this year."
The first stations, without bikes, will be set out tonight, Ongaro said.
Nice Ride users won't see any fee increase this year, Ongaro said. The 2014 pass and membership costs will be maintained for the upcoming season: $6 for a 24-hour pass, $15 for a 30-day pass and $65 for a season pass. They are available at any Nice Ride Station.
Members can take unlimited rides of 60 minutes or fewer without paying an extra fee. Pass holders can ride for 30 minutes without paying an extra fee. This year riders will be charged a flat $3 for each 30 minute period beyond the time included with their membership or pass. More information about how bike share pricing works can be found on the pricing page.
Last year Nice Ride users took 405,000 rides.
"We're really encouraging people to just walk up to any station and follow the instructions on the screen, as opposed to feeling like they need a membership," Ongaro said. "Anyone can walk up and get a bike with a debit or credit card."
Nice Ride also will bring back its Neighborhood program in 2015. The program loans orange bikes to riders in urban neighborhoods. Nice Ride provides programming and rides and then rewards participants who complete the program with a gift card to a bike shop at the end of the season to buy a bike.