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Streetsblog Article, "Could Longer Rental Times Help Divvy Appeal to More Chicagoans?"

Photo courtesy of Streetsblog Chicago: Michael Podgers

I have friends (both men and women) that love the convenience of Divvy - especially for quick trips downtown but I haven't really embraced using Divvy. It seems I am not alone. We've been discussing the usage of Divvy by women (reportedly only 20%) in another thread but I wanted to share Streetsblog's take on Divvy usage. This article compares it to a bike share program in Vienna (CityBike Wien) and gets into a few of the aspects of Divvy that could help grow the users base e.g. cost, 30 minute limit.

Do you use Divvy? If not, what keeps you from taking advantage of it? 

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I have used Divvy four times and all for the same reason. I am a lawyer downtown and had a deposition within three miles of the loop. I used Divvy on days when I did not otherwise ride my bike and thought ahead to bring a helmet. i rarely use Divvy because I have my own  bikes and I need to make sure to bring  a helmet on days when  I don't ride my own bike. I don't spontaneously use Divvy for the helmet reason. I have been  keeping my eye on  products such as Carrera's folding helmet.  The 30 minute time  is likely fine  but  still feels a little constricting. It gives time pressure. I think a 45 minute limit would make many feel more comfortable that it will be ok to explore and get a little lost and still be able to find a station.  Also, when Divvy was $7 it was a better deal than taking a cab two ways to these depositions. At nearly $10 it is a closer call. I really don't see myself as the target audience. I think regular (fob holding) commuters and out of town visitors are the real  market.  I wonder how much  the helmet issue is a barrier for out of towners. When I have been in  other cities I have thought about using their bike  share but did not do so because I did not have a helmet.  

Thanks for sharing your thoughtful perspective on Divvy. My friends have come to town with their own helmet to use with the Divvy but I can see, if you don't plan ahead of time, how it could stop you from renting. 

The DIVVY app i happened to end up with is called CycleFinder. It is pre-configured to work with a handful of different city bikeshare programs including a couple of cities in Mexico as some here in the USA. It was interesting to notice when fired it up recently that the timer includes pre-sets for a fairly wide range of times, many of which exceed 30 minutes, which suggests that our 30 min limit is on the short end of the range of time limits imposed by other similar systems.

That reminded me about the main DIVVY pain point for me has been exactly that 30 min time limit. I live at the southwestern edge of the current DIVVY territory, McKinley Park, and it may be possible to ride from 35th and Archer to the loop on a DIVVY bike in 30 minutes, but I sure can't do it. I can barely ride a non-speed crippled bike to the loop in 30 minutes. There is no way I can see myself buying a membership given the 30 minute time limit - it is just too frustrating. I really appreciate the idea of bike-share and would like to support it more.

I have my own bikes I'd be willing to support the system with a membership even if I rarely use it - as long as I could occasionally actually use it but the 30 min thing - ESPECIALLY with the high rate of full and empty docks I've experienced makes it a non-option for me now.

Just out of curiosity, since you have your own bikes, why would you want to ride a Divvy from 35th and Archer to the Loop?  A one-way trip for some reason?  That would be one cumbersome ride, at best.

Once in a great while my daily rider is out of commission either for repairs or because it is in the middle of some upgrade that is taking longer than planned. I'm reluctant to take the touring bike out in winter or to leave it locked up for very long given its awesomeness and chicago's bike theft rate. Also, on other rare occasions I need to get to the loop one-way - like to spend a day working somewhere and then hop on the blue line to o'hare or whatever. And the guest thing as discussed above... We have a pretty good variety of bike sizes at the house, but every once in a while we have a guest and no bike for them. A Divvy is great for that.

A Divvy ride of any distance is cumbersome. That is the nature of the bike. I'm fine with that aspect of it for the most part.

Check.  All good reasons.

Yes, the 30 minute time limit impacts my usage.  On those days when I can't ride my own bike to work (usually because I have to start work at another office, in a suit) the 30 minute time limit requires to me Divvy surf my ride home.  I've mapped out a number of routes with spots to stop in briefly to re-start the clock.  I'd love to skip that stop, and a 45 minute time limit would do it.

Friends have decided against Divvying from work in the Loop to my house because it might take them slightly longer than 30 mins.

Agreed.  Also in the same boat.  Would be great if it were 45 min or 1 hour.

I would feel much more comfortable if the time were increased to 1 hour, especially for the longer trips and heavy traffic periods.

Is Citybike 45 min for everyone or just annual membership users? As a tourist, a year and a half ago or so, I got a daily Citybike pass and the limit was 30 min. Made for some pretty aggravating surfing, but was still a better deal than riding the subways which, sadly, no longer had the daily pass option!


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