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Lyft suspends Nice Ride in Minneapolis after losing sponsor

A Lyft spokesperson told KARE 11 that the company decided to suspend the Nice Ride system after losing the program's sponsor, Blue Cross Blue Shield.

MINNEAPOLIS — After more than 12 years of the program, Lyft announced Wednesday that it is suspending its Nice Ride scooter and bike share in Minneapolis this year.

In a statement, a Lyft spokesperson told KARE 11 that the company decided to suspend the Nice Ride system "at the completion of our one-year license after losing the system's presenting sponsor."

According to Lyft, Blue Cross Blue Shield notified the rideshare company that they would no longer continue as the program's sponsor several months ago.

"Since losing the presenting sponsor, we have worked tirelessly to find a new sponsor but have not been successful. We will continue to work with our local partners to look for opportunities to provide service again in the future," Lyft said.

Nice Ride launched in Minneapolis in 2010 and St. Paul in 2011. In the spring of 2019, Nice Ride announced it would return to Minneapolis but not St. Paul after the city signed another contract with Lime.

Lyft also cited Minneapolis moving to a one-year licensing agreement, a lack of funds and a crowded market as reasons for the Nice Ride suspension.

Nice Ride stations will be removed when weather conditions allow.

According to the city, Minneapolis still has scooter rental contracts with Bird, Lime, Spin and Veo. 

"The City is disappointed that Lyft could not find a new private sponsor to support their operation of the Nice Ride system," spokesperson Sarah McKenzie said. "Regardless of the outcome, the City has other licensees in the Shared Bike and Scooter Program interested in providing shared bikes, ensuring that the city will have bikes in the program this upcoming season."

Sam Rockwell is the executive director of the advocacy organization Move Minnesota. While he and his family own several bikes, he also purchased a Nice Ride membership.

"The impact is going to be significant," Rockwell said. "Minneapolis is one of the top biking cities across the country and Nice Ride has been a big part of making us that kind of city."

"Year after year, I just kind of re-up my membership and I can grab a bike whenever I need to," he continued. "I know how the system works and so there's that familiarity that allows that ridership to grow year over year and I think it's not just the fact that we have bike share but the fact that we've been able to build kind of a brand and a name around Nice Ride so I think it's going to be a journey to rebuild that."

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