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Bike-Share Extends Free Rides to Health-Care Workers

Nice Ride Minnesota is back in operation and offering free rides for health-care workers amid the pandemic. The company also plans to unveil another fleet of electric bikes and a new version of their app as well.

by Tim Harlow, Star Tribune / April 6, 2020

(TNS) — Nice Ride Minnesota, the popular bike share program, returned to the streets Monday and with free rides for health care workers for a month.

Health care workers can register for a free membership that will allow them to take unlimited 60-minute rides Monday through May 6. They must register for the membership through their employer, said a spokeswoman for Lyft, which operates Nice Ride.

Health care companies can e-mail to learn how to receive free memberships for their employees.

Others can use the bikes for $2 for single trips up to 30 minutes. Day passes allowing unlimited rides in a 24-hour period go for $6, while a season membership costs $75, the same rates charged in 2019.

But as the classic green bikes are rolled out, Lyft on Monday reminded that the state's Stay at Home order in effect until Friday limits travel to essential purposes and requires physical distancing, the practice of staying at least 6 feet from another person.

Lyft said it has "aggressively increased" cleaning and sanitizing protocols. High-contact surfaces such as seats and handle bars will be disinfected each time a bike arrives at the warehouse. Vans used to transport vehicles also are being disinfected at the start of each shift. Employees will be wearing gloves when handling bikes both in the depot and at stations to minimize contact.

It's hard to forecast just how much use the system will see with many people still working at home and schools closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. But it's possible it will see a high demand as those wary of using mass transit now have another option. Both New York City and Philadelphia reported a surge in demand in recent months.

Nice Ride is still on track to unveil its fleet of pedal-assisted electric bikes later this season along with a new Nice Ride app.

©2020 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis), Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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