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Divvy Is The Quick Trip For Commuters

By Danette Chavez in News on Apr 24, 2015 2:00PM

Lately it looks like Divvy is living up to its (unofficial) moniker as Chicago’s other public transit system. Expansion plans that will make it the largest bike-share program in North America are currently underway, and now there’s evidence that Divvy really is giving the CTA (and even automobiles) a run for their money.

We’ve all been there: Waiting an inordinate amount of time for a bus or train, thinking about how we could have walked or biked to our destination and back by now. Chicago magazine’s Whet Moser made more than an anecdotal comparison while looking at the data—or rather, one of the winning entries in Divvy’s latest Data Challenge, Shaun Jacobsen’s (of Transitized) “Who’s Faster” project.

Jacobsen looked at travel times between the top 1,000 “station pairs,” which are the most popular start and end points on Divvy trips. He then compared those times with CTA trips taken to and from those station pairs at noon on a Monday. What Jacobsen found was that Divvy rides along these routes were faster, with time saved “centering on five minutes.” Furthermore, the most popular of these station-pairs proved to be the most efficient routes by saving the most time, a fact that’s not lost on Divvy riders (hence their popularity).

Moser calculated the travel times for his own trips along certain station-pairs and found that Divvy wasn’t a huge time-saver for him overall. But there’s no beating the price: A year of unlimited Divvy rides is less than a monthly CTA pass. Of course, Divvy doesn’t beat the bus and El on every front. Mass transit is still your best option for many trips in the Loop and Near North Side.

Though the data was not part of the challenge or Moser’s own findings, Divvy also stacks up favorably against car rides for shorter trips. MIT’s Media Lab found that Divvy is faster when used for trips of a couple of miles, and even more so when you throw in the time spent looking for parking.