Car free day cookies

Dispatch from Car-Free MSP Day

Andrea Carver, of Becker, started her car-free journey at 4:46 a.m. when she took the Northstar Commuter Rail to Minneapolis. At 6:10 a.m., she took the Blue Line light-rail train from Target Field Station to Nicollet, then walked on Nicollet to her destination.

At 6:11 a.m., Jonathan Weinhagen, Minneapolis Regional Chamber president and CEO, caught the Route 261 express bus from Shoreview to downtown Minneapolis.

At 10:09 a.m., Weinhagen was taking the Green Line light rail east to St. Paul to meet with a team from Comcast. Presumably, the topic of regional public transit was discussed.

Car free day cookies

✨🍪🍪🍪🍪✨ Photo: Author

Around 11 a.m., I scooted down to Peavey Plaza for the #CarFreeMSP party. There was Move Minneapolis, Nice Ride and Lyft, Lime, HourCar, Enterprise, and transit operators Metro Transit and SouthWest Transit.

A salted caramel cookie bought and paid for my attention, and I learned some interesting tidbits about our local micro-mobility scene.

NiceRide Gen 1 electric bike.

Nice Ride Gen 1 electric bike with swappable battery. Photo: Author

Nice Ride

Nice Ride has about 50 of its “Gen 1” electric bikes deployed. These were shipped in from San José, California, and feature a swappable battery (the brick that says “genze”), something that no other rental electric scooters in the Twin Cities currently have.

The electric bikes are used about six times per day, three to four times the rate of the classic green bikes, according to a Nice Ride staffer.

Lyft and Motivate, the operator of Nice Ride, are working on a solar-powered charging dock station for electric bikes.

Given the brake issues with the “Gen 2” model of electric bike in San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C., Nice Ride failed to meet its goal of 500 deployed this summer. Next year, the company hopes to meet that target with a new generation of bikes.

Lyft Scooter Segway Ninebot Max

Lyft is partnering with Segway-Ninebot to introduce the Shared Scooter Model Max. Photo: Lyft


Lyft has about 500 scooters deployed and is exclusively partnering with Segway-Ninebot now, after Xiaomi sent a cease-and-desist in October 2018. Once Lyft ships in new Segway-Ninebot Max scooters, they will increase the deployment to the max of about 660 per day.

A Lyft staffer said that its scooters are used about three times per day. Using swappable batteries may be in the future. Skip, which operates only in Austin, Texas, San Diego, San Francisco and D.C., introduced its model “S3” scooter that features swappable batteries in August 2019.

Lime Gen 3 Screen With Phone App

Lime Gen 3 screen with phone app. Photo: Lime


Lime recently rolled out the “Gen 3” scooter in Minneapolis, and Lime had two on display at its booth. Lime tries to meet the cap every day and have a pool of about 1,000 scooters for Minneapolis and 700 for St. Paul, the staffer said.

The challenge is maintenance. The most common fixes at the Lime regional service center are replacing screens that are damaged and fixing brake lines that are damaged or cut.

How did you get around last Thursday, on Car-Free MSP Day? What is your favorite car-free trip? Share your stories and your dreams in the comments.

Conrad Zbikowski

About Conrad Zbikowski

Downtown Minneapolis resident covering local issues including parks, transportation, zoning, and development.

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