OwnerCity of Chicago
LocaleChicago, IL, U.S.
Transit typeBicycle sharing system
Number of stations659[1]
Daily ridership13,000 (Sep 2014) [2]
Annual ridership3,603,083 (2018)[3]
Began operationJune 28, 2013[1]
Number of vehicles5800[1]
Divvy installation at Pritzker Park
Divvy installation at Pritzker Park
Dearborn & Washington Divvy Station, Chicago Loop.
Dearborn & Washington Divvy Station, Chicago Loop.

Divvy is a bicycle sharing system in the City of Chicago and Evanston operated by Lyft for the Chicago Department of Transportation. As of July 2019, it operated 5800 bicycles at 608 stations, covering almost all of the city, excluding Pullman, Roseland, Beverly, Belmont Cragin and Edison Park.[4]


In 2007, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley visited Paris, France, where he tested their Vélib' bicycle sharing system and was "greatly impressed".[5] He determined that a similar system would work well in Chicago.[6] After returning from his European trip, Mayor Daley requested proposals from private partners to create a bike share system for Chicago. Two potential operators came forward, but submitted plans that would have been too expensive for the city to fund.[7]

In May 2012, the City of Chicago awarded Alta Bicycle Share (acquired by Bikeshare Holdings LLC in 2014 and renamed to Motivate)[8] a contract for "The Purchase, Installation, and Operation of a Bicycle Sharing System".[9]

On June 28, 2013, Divvy launched with 750 bikes at 75 stations in an area from the Loop north to Berwyn Ave, west to Kedzie Ave, and south to 59th St.[10][11] A planned expansion to the number of stations in Spring 2014 was delayed to 2015 due to supply shortages.[12]


In October 2014, TWU (Transport Workers' Union) Local 100 of New York City filed an election petition with the NLRB seeking to represent "almost 70 full-time and part-time workers, including mechanics and truck drivers, who are paid $12 to $16 an hour."[13]

The unionization effort came after employees of CitiBike in NYC, owned by the same parent company Motivate (formerly Alta Bicycle Share), joined TWU Local 100 in September 2014[14] and alongside similar efforts by employees of Motivate (formerly Alta Bicycle Share) in Boston (Hubway)[15] and Washington, DC (Capital Bikeshare).[16]

2019 Expansion

In March 2019, Mayor Emanuel proposed a 9-year contract with Lyft, owner of the current Divvy operator, Motivate, to give exclusive rights to operate the city-owned system and keep a portion of the subsequent advertisement revenue, but which would require Lyft to invest US$50 million to add 175 stations and 10,500 bikes to the Divvy system, expand to all 50 city wards by 2021, and add electric pedal bikes which could lock to both Divvy stations and conventional bike racks. Lyft would additionally be required to make annual payments to the city starting at US$6 million and increasing by 4 percent each year; and the city would share in at least US$1.5 million in advertisement revenue each year.[17]

The proposal passed a Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Committee vote in the City Council on April 8[18] and was approved by the full City Council on April 10.[19]

As of September 2019, Divvy had 608 stations (594 stations in Chicago and 14 in Evanston).[1]


The name Divvy is a playful reference to sharing ("divvy it up"). Divvy’s light-blue color palette and four stars evoke the Chicago flag. The double Vs in the Divvy logo refer to the shared-lane markers painted on bike lanes throughout the city, and are a nod to how the city prioritizes bike safety, paving the way for new riders.[citation needed]

The naming, logo and brand strategy for Chicago’s new bike share program was developed through a partnership between the global design firm IDEO and the Chicago brand strategy studio Firebelly Design. IDEO led the project's research, conceptual brand development, and naming phases; Firebelly team led the identity design, communication system and brand guideline phases.[citation needed]

The first 4,000 Founding Members received limited edition black keys; regular members received blue keys.[20]

The bikes

Divvy bikes in Chicago
Divvy bikes in Chicago

The bicycles are utility bicycles with a unisex step-through frame that provides a lower center of gravity and ease of access to a wide range of heights. All bikes are painted "Chicago blue", with the exception of one "unicorn bike": a bright red bike, dubbed #Divvyred.[21]

The one-piece aluminum frame and handlebars conceal cables to protect them from vandalism and inclement weather. The heavy-duty tires are designed to be puncture-resistant and filled with nitrogen to maintain proper inflation pressure longer.[22] Front and rear flashing LED lights are integrated into the frame, which weighs approximately 40 lb (18 kg). Divvy bikes have three speeds, a bell, and a front rack. The bikes are built in the Saguenay, Quebec region, by Cycles Devinci. The bikes are supplied by PBSC Urban Solutions, which also supplies docking stations and payment kiosks for the system.

Through the end of October 2014, the Chicago Blackhawks are partnering with Divvy to release five black and red Blackhawks design bikes.[23]

Further information on the bikes and payment kiosks: PBSC Urban Solutions § Equipment

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Wisniwski, Mary (September 6, 2019). "Divvy bike program expanding to Far South Side this fall". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  2. ^ "New Divvy Data Now Available!". divvybikes.tumblr.com. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  3. ^ "Divvy Data". Divvy. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  4. ^ Wisniwski, Mary (June 8, 2019). "City gets ready to spread Divvy bikes to Far South Side". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  5. ^ "Chicago eyes Paris self-service bike scheme". Agence France-Presse. September 12, 2007. Retrieved October 28, 2019 – via expatica.com.
  6. ^ "Paris' Popular Bike Program May Inspire Others". NPR. September 15, 2007. Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  7. ^ Doster, Adam (26 April 2013). "What Chicago Can Learn From Other Cities' Bike-Sharing Programs". Chicago. Archived from the original on 29 April 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  8. ^ "Bikeshare Holdings LLC Signs Agreement to Acquire Alta Bicycle Share". motivateco.com/. 28 October 2014. Archived from the original on 25 January 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  9. ^ "Contract 26459 Details". City of Chicago. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  10. ^ "Chicago Welcomes Divvy Bike Sharing System". Archived from the original on 4 July 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  11. ^ "City's Bike Sharing Program Launches Today". Archived from the original on 4 July 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  12. ^ Weissmann, Dan. "Bike-sharing's big problem: missing bikes". Marketplace. American Public Media. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-03. Retrieved 2014-11-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/10/14/hubway-should-extend-good-efforts-its-own-employees/pA8zRhKA3AI75AwcC6GWJL/story.html#comments Archived 2016-03-08 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-03. Retrieved 2014-11-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-03. Retrieved 2014-11-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ Buckley, Madeline (12 March 2019). "Divvy to get $50 million upgrade from Lyft investment in exchange for ride revenue under contract proposal". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  18. ^ Wisniewski, Mary (8 April 2019). "More Divvy bikes — but none from Uber. Lyft moves closer to expansion deal that freezes out rivals". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  19. ^ Spielman, Fran (10 April 2019). "City Council makes Lyft exclusive operator of Divvy bike-sharing for nine years". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  20. ^ https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdot/provdrs/bike/news/2013/may/divvy_website_openformembershipregistration.html
  21. ^ Byrne, John (1 August 2013). "Chicago's 'unicorn': new red Divvy bicycle". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  22. ^ Fisher, Jennifer (13 August 2013). "Divvy Bike Sharing May Come to Evanston". Evanston Patch. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2014-09-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)