Divvy bikes in Chicago
I see people riding those things all the time, and I don't really see the appeal. they're relatively expensive for the hassle of using them (IIRC it's $7 all day but you only get 15 minutes between return stations), they don't look like comfortable rides, and they're ugly as hell.
I can see them being useful for out of towners who want to bike around, but I see so many of them on the road during commute hours that it seems that people just use them as their basic means of transportation. I'm amazed that they stay in business honestly.
Or maybe I'm looking at them all wrong. Are any of you divvy users? Any thoughts on the service?
My understanding is that the target group is people who might otherwise walk or take a cab in a pinch between nearby destinations, like the metra and a cta stop or between cat stop and work or something. A yearly membership is around $70, which is pretty reasonable for the purposes listed above, I think. I saw quite a few users before the snow really hit along the near north side part of my commute - way more than I expected! Also, they have a deal on groupon, which is sure to entice a certain population. I was highly suspicious too, and still don't really understand it, but I think they may have found a market.
$7 per 24 hours for unlimited 30 minute rides. They say docking resets the timer. So presumably you can simply dock the bike at a station just before 30 minutes and grab another bike immediately? minor hassle if you need more time (and plan your route). I would guess that most users have a membership. $75 for the year and you don't have to worry about your bike getting stolen. They have a real-time app and I guess each kiosk shows you how many bikes are at each station.
CTA is at least $2 per ride, $10 for the day pass, $100 for a month. So $1200 per year vs. $75...
I'm thinking of getting a membership to speed up train trips. From where I live it's usually a bus to the train and that adds time. Could lock my own bike up at the train station, but then there's the possibility of tampering/theft. My wife's bike is even nicer than mine. $150/year would speed up some CTA trips and give is peace of mind. Plus it's a backup if our own bikes are down for service or something.
I know people who bike a lot feel like the gearing is a bit low but I think it's fine for most riders, and the bikes aren't exactly lightweights. I wouldn't mind being able to go a bit faster but it can be nice to cruise.
The system has some federal funding and some city funding. They're working on a corporate sponsor like Citibike. To me, it's an extension of public transportation, and like public transportation I don't care if it's entirely self-sufficient. If it gets more people on bikes and thinking like cyclists it'll be good for all of us. Plus they get plenty of late fees from tourists, although even with late fees it can make
more sense for them than the other bike rental
I rode them a few times between Union Station and my office. They work fine for short trips. They're not geared real high but it's very rideable. Yes, they are dorky, but they are convenient and it beats a taxi in my book at $7. I ended up getting a folding bike to take on the train so I don't use them anymore but if you commute every day it's a bargain for a membership.
I used Divvy a few times while visiting Chicago earlier this month. I spend a week each year at a medical conference that has been in Chicago for the last few years. I love the conference and the city of Chicago, but the bummer is that you have to spend a lot of time in a shuttle bus between the conference hotels downtown and McCormick Conference Center. This year the weather was great , and used I Divvy to shuttle back and forth and to get around the city generally. I used the bike map on my smart phone to find bike lanes and an app to find Divvy bike stations. I was very happy to be riding and not stuck in a bus. Indeed, I think many more visitors would choose to do this if Chicago's bike lanes through the streets were a bit more end-to-end from the loop to the convention center (provided an obvious, secure route). Also, if you take the lakefront trail, you have to walk the bike through the convention center to get to the Divvy station out front. This connection needs to be improved. All in all, Divvy is a great addition to the one week a year I spend in Chicago.