Chicago bike sharing will be known as Divvy, be Chicago flag blue

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Several short instructional videos have just been posted by Divvy here:http://vimeo.com/album/2450111

Here's one on how to navigate through the 24-hour pass screens:

Teach Me How To Divvy: Getting a 24-Hour Pass from Divvy Bikes on Vimeo.

I'm wondering how this would work for travelers.  Say I have a four hour layover  between trains and would like to ride the lakeshore path.  I can't see how it would help.  Perhaps to get to a hotel, assuming there is a Divvy station near it.

I will say that when I spent a few days in Portand, OR recently with my own bike, I saw a lot of those (red) cruisers and a lot of bike stations, not only near downtown.  But then visiting Portland is like visiting a foreign country without the airline torture.

The Divvy isn't for cruising around for 4 hours. But it could certainly get someone during a 4-hour interlude TO the park for a walk or ice cream and a ride back to the train station. It is not for cruising - it is for getting places.  I noticed the most northern Divvy just jumped from Notebaert Museum to closer to Belmont.  As soon as stations appear along Irving Park Road, Montrose, Lawrence, and Foster, it is going to be positively the most attractive way to get around.  But for many of us north siders, without those streets it isn't feasible yet.  Hopefully those 4 northern spots will be installed soon.  Can't wait.

"I'm wondering how this would work for travelers."

I forgot about the $75 fee to even get started.  Dumb, tah, dumb ... duuuuuumb. 

But, it's only $7 for a 24-hr pass.  Not bad for a layover.

Paul said:

I forgot about the $75 fee to even get started.  Dumb, tah, dumb ... duuuuuumb. 

I must have misinterpreted  "Yearly memberships will cost $75, and daily passes will be sold for $7."  to mean $75 to sign up and then $7 whenever you want to use it.  You are right,  only $7 per day, even with the restrictions, is not a bad deal.

Probably using the same mechanisms used by rental car companies who don't run an authorization for $20,000 when you rent a car.



h' 1.0 said:

So, I'm not exactly looking to create an online primer on how to screw up a municipal bike sharing program.... but how can they possibly just let a new user swipe a card and take off with a bike?

Considering a person losing a bike "may be liable for up to $1200" do they try a $1200 temporary  charge on the card?

Divvy is operated by a private company, Alta, under a city contract.  But all of the bikes, rebalancing vans and station hardware are owned outright by the City of Chicago.  The city has options beyond just sending in bill collectors when it comes to folks stealing city property.
 
h' 1.0 said:

... but a good percentage of Chicagoans wouldn't even notice another bill collector on their butts.

One thing I noticed:  the only allow cards that are either full on credit cards or attached to an actual bank account.  I have a Paypal card and the system wouldn't let me use that since it is a true debit with the MC logo (dependent on how much I have in Paypal at the time and no overdrafts possible).  A bank account or credit card take quite a bit more identity verification and the bank account can be garnished for extra charges if needed.

h' 1.0 said:

So, I'm not exactly looking to create an online primer on how to screw up a municipal bike sharing program.... but how can they possibly just let a new user swipe a card and take off with a bike?

Considering a person losing a bike "may be liable for up to $1200" do they try a $1200 temporary  charge on the card?

From the FAQ, the authorization hold is only $1. Yes, if the bike is stolen, then a $1200 charge will be run on the card. If that bounces, well, they'll figure out something -- but experience elsewhere indicates that rarely occurs.

As for travelers, I use bike share all the time when I'm traveling:

- Arrive at Union Station 1 PM, hop on a bike (a day pass is just $7!)

- Bike up the lakefront to Oak Street Beach and dock there at 1:30 PM, get a snack

- Check out a fresh bike, bike down to the Field Museum and dock there at 2:30 PM, check out the dino bones

- Check out another new bike at 4:30 PM, get back to Union Station at 5 PM and dock the bike.

Not that complicated. No $1200 in pre-authorizations, no $75 annual fee, no $200 in overtime fees, like all the scary complaints say. Total cost is $7. Just remember to keep your trips short -- but you're in a big and exciting city where there's a lot to do off the bike and so you'll want to keep your trips short.

Nice day! Of course you are  much smarter than the person who had a Divvy bike in the bike Corral for the Phish concert at Northerly Island. I saw the bike in the corral when I went to pick my bike.  I can't  imagine what  that person paid for his/her day. I think a limo ride would have priced about the same.

payton said:

From the FAQ, the authorization hold is only $1. Yes, if the bike is stolen, then a $1200 charge will be run on the card. If that bounces, well, they'll figure out something -- but experience elsewhere indicates that rarely occurs.

As for travelers, I use bike share all the time when I'm traveling:

- Arrive at Union Station 1 PM, hop on a bike (a day pass is just $7!)

- Bike up the lakefront to Oak Street Beach and dock there at 1:30 PM, get a snack

- Check out a fresh bike, bike down to the Field Museum and dock there at 2:30 PM, check out the dino bones

- Check out another new bike at 4:30 PM, get back to Union Station at 5 PM and dock the bike.

Not that complicated. No $1200 in pre-authorizations, no $75 annual fee, no $200 in overtime fees, like all the scary complaints say. Total cost is $7. Just remember to keep your trips short -- but you're in a big and exciting city where there's a lot to do off the bike and so you'll want to keep your trips short.

Anyone else notice that some of the brakes on the Divvy bikes are already getting a little soft? Didn't notice it before, but the last few times I've gotten a Divvy all the brakes were soft. Is this as common as it seems or an anomaly?

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