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City Set To Increase Daily Divvy Bike Fee By 40 Percent

By Jim Bochnowski in News on Jul 17, 2015 3:30PM

Photo credit: Chicajogian

Bad news for tourists and the casual Divvy user: The city is increasing the daily fee to rent Divvy bikes from $7 to $9.95.

Since the bike share program launched two years ago, Divvy has become an important urban planning tool, creating faster commutes, making cycling more accessible and, more recently, offering low-income families a more affordable transportation option. However Divvy also ran up a fairly large deficit in its first year of operation, posting an operating loss of $148,000.

That's why Chicago Department of Transportation officials have announced that the daily fee to rent a Divvy bike will jump by 40 percent for a 24-hour Divvy pass, the Chicago Tribune reports. Annual Divvy passes will stay at $75 per year. This increased fee is projected to generate an extra $400,000 for the bike share system, according to Motivate, the Brooklyn-based company that now operates Divvy.

This change should have a limited effect on city residents, as roughly two-thirds of the bike share's daily users are visitors to the city. 86 percent of Divvy's annual members, meanwhile, are actual Chicago residents.

Chicago Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld told the Tribune:

"Even with this price change, $9.95 is a great deal and a very competitive price for 24 hours of access to Divvy that allows users to explore Chicago. This step will ensure that Divvy remains on a sustainable path and can continue to deliver quality customer service."

The mayor's office justified the rate increase in its own statement:

"Divvy was launched at a time when big cities were just beginning to launch bike-share programs, and many of the financial predictions we made were based on other industries, without having a direct precedent to look to in the bike-share world...We expect that as the bike-share industry matures, we will be able to attract even more revenue in this manner."