Okay — I was going to let this go when the $250 “hold fee” was removed from my checking account. But then I noticed that at a $55.53 charge still remained. $55.53? Yeah, exactly. Now the whole enticing piece of the this “Nice Ride, Minnesota” campaign is that for $5 you can rent a bike, run errands, commute to work, just have a great day on two wheels. Wind in your hair. Pedals under your feet. Minnesota at your beck and call… For a price. That damn fine print will get you every time.
Apparently, your $5 gets you a 24-hour “subscription.” However, after 30 minutes, you start chalking up “trip fees.” Yeah, you heard me, trip fees. The only way to actually get 24 hours out of your “subscription” is to keep returning the bike you are currently riding to another kiosk within 30 minutes. Over and over and over. Now THAT’S convenient. But if you don’t, ca-ching, ca-ching. Nice Ride, Minnesota, starts making a nice little profit on you. Thus, my 4.5 hour bike ride that cost me $55.53 — of which only 20 minutes were actually on the bike. I actually parked it at the office, with the intent of riding it home at the end of the work day, thinking what a bargain I was getting for my $5.
Check out the pricing structure. It is absolutely ludicrous… unless, of course, you are the one making the money:
|0-30 min||No fee|
|30 day||$30.00||31-60 min||$1.50|
|1 yr||$60.00||61-90 min||+$3.00|
|Student||$50.00||Each additional half hour||+$6.00|
Subscriptions and fees are subject to 7.775% sales tax.
So, basically, even if I pay $60 for a year-long subscription (which I basically did, btw), you still have to return your bike every 30 minutes or be charged astronomical prices every half hour.
Needless to say, I let an email fly to the “powers that be” on the Nice Ride, Minnesota website. See below for their response:
Hello Mr. Newbold,
We thank you for your comments and are sincerely sorry for the inconvenience you have experienced. We will forward your email to the appropriate department that will evaluate your situation as soon as possible.
Have a good day,
Nice Ride Minnesota Customer Service Team
Now, I admit that I simply did not do enough homework on this “community program.” My bad. Be responsible. Do the research. But come on — every newspaper story, broadcast story, blog post at launch screamed “$5 gets you a bike for 24 hours!” And I was excited to support such a great idea. Just not with my entire bank account. And, as long as no Nice Ride, Minnesota kiosk explains the pricing structure or the danger of using a debit card, I feel justified in my outrage. Let’s call a spade a spade. This program is seriously a flat tire.