Nearly three years after city officials first applied for a grant to fund it, the Divvy Bike Share service will officially roll into Evanston next week.

There’ll be 100 bikes and 10 bike share stations at locations chosen through a lengthy public review processs.

The service is intended for short trips within Evanston, or to connect across Divvy’s network of more than 580 stations in Chicago and Oak Park. 

Divvy is operated by Motivate International, Inc., which also runs similar services in New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said Divvy will give “community members and visitors access to an easy, healthy, affordable and environmentally friendly way to complete their last mile of travel or an option for quick trips around town.”

Evanston has gained the support of sponsors, including Northwestern University, NorthShore University HealthSystem, Valli Produce, and Presence Saint Francis Hospital, to increase the number of stations and contribute to the financial sustainability of the system.

Evanston residents can sign up for memberships at DivvyBikes.com. Pricing across Evanston and Chicago are the same, with an annual membership cost of $99, or monthly installments of $9.95 with an annual commitment.

Members are entitled to unlimited use of the system for individual bike trips of up to 30 minutes. Members using Divvy bikes for longer periods will be charged incremental usage fees. There is also a 24-hour pass option for $9.95 for those visiting Evanston or trying the system for occasional use. The 24-hour pass allows unlimited use of the system for a 24-hour period, with trips over 30 minutes incurring incremental usage fees.

Corporate and community memberships are also available. With these memberships, companies and organizations can offer their employees and members discounted or subsidized membership. More information is available at divvybikes.com/pricing/corporate-memberships.

Divvy’s expansion to Evanston and Oak Park is made possible by a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation, with Chicago, Evanston and Oak Park each providing the required 20 percent local cost share match for their stations and bikes.

Details about Divvy station locations in Evanston can be found online.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Finally!
    I am glad the bikes are finally going to be set up, and I am pleased that they are getting in early in the peak riding season. I do have doubts about the station placement, but in January 2017 we will see how much utilization they are getting when Divvy releases detailed usage data.

    I use Divvy in Chicago to go between the metra station and my office, and it is a great alternative to the bus or walking. It provides freedom from traffic jams and schedules.

    1. I hope it works out but..
      I support biking, in fact I’ve used a bike only for 20 years [except for CTA for some errands and Metra to commute to the Loop] but I have to wonder about the following:
      1. Will riders be required to wear helmets ? Bikes have bells for warning ? Signals [doubtful] ?
      2. Does Divvy cover the insurance for personal injury ? Cost of bike repair in accident, fault of rider ?
      3. If rider uses for errands where there is no Divvy stand, rider would have to supply their own lock ? Rider or Divvy cover stolen bike ?
      4. Legal and political implications if there is an accident [biker, car, pedestrian] ? I.e. bad publicity for the city.
      5. Some/many people who bike every day violate not only the laws but ride unsafely. Why assume Divvy riders will be any better ? Note how many bikers on downtown sidewalks already where multiple signs say no biking.
      6. In 1/2 hour a ‘safe’ speed ride may allow 2 miles round trip. Not much use for errands or touring—maybe Davis station to Ecology Center and back ? Or NU to downtown Wilmette with no shopping at Jewel.
      7. Will bikes be available in late Fall, Winter, early Spring ? I assume other cities including Chicago have experience with this.

      1. You do realize that bike

        You do realize that bike share is a fairly established concept, right? All of these issues have been addressed by the dozens of other larger and more important cities that have bike share. No one expects a suburban community the likes of Evanston to reinvent the wheel. 

      2. What More the City could do to encourage biking
        Years ago the police had a bike auction. Now you go online and see bikes from various places [and a very small number at that] and are expected to bid sight unseen and have the bike shipped to you.
        If the city would have a semi-annual or annual bike auction of bikes the unclaimed bikes the police get, bikes the city collects [I see the truck full of bikes at the Metra station], and combine with bikes NU gets [a LOT of bikes students leave] [or let NU have their own spot to auction bikes], many more reasonable priced bikes would be available to the public. If bikes need repair before/after auction, there are people who for a small fee or even charity or environmental concern, who will do repairs.

  2. Bikers

    Oh good!  More novice bikers, without helmets, meandering around the streets without a clue. What could go wrong?

      1. Thanks for the clarification
        I also was concerned about adding more bicycles to the already large crowd of people who go screaming through stop signs, ignore traffic signals, ride on the sidewalks (especially downtown), and generally either ignore, or are ignorant of, following basic traffic laws.

        Wonder whatever happened to the idea of licensing bicycles and riders to make them more accountable for their own often suicidal riding habits?

        1. That idea got shot down
          That idea got shot down because it was stupid, and because the people who proposed it are just terrible drivers with a big sense of entitlement.

          1. Absolutely! Amazing how
            Absolutely! Amazing how entitled drivers don’t believe in sharing the road and don’t check their own privilege. Do some bikers roll through stop signs? Yes. Do some drivers roll through stop signs? Yes. The different is drivers endanger everyone around them as well. We need to embrace the fact that Evanston is not a completely auto-centric community like Schaumburg.

  3. I certainly hope we got a
    I certainly hope we got a better deal than Chicago. Chicago has been operating at a large financial loss since the beginning of the divvy program and Chicago taxpayers eat 90 % of the losses. Recently Milwaukee made a deal with Divvy that will guarantee a profit for their city.

    I guess we will need to wait and see how Evanston’s deal works out.

    1. This is factually innacurate

      Your statement is completely false. Divvy just about breaks even. Recent operating losses have come in at under $500k per year, a miniscule sum for the benefit of a city-wide bike share program servicing a city of 2.7M people. In any case, any money spent by Evanston on this public transportation resource will be more appropriate and will pale in comparison to the money spent subsidizing restaurants. 

      1. Bob
        You are absolutely amazing. First you say I am wrong. Then you say I am right by saying Chicago loses a half of a million last year. That is probably pretty close and also their best year.

        I have read that Milwaukee’s deal with Divvy will give them the best chance to make a profit or break even of any Divvy city. What else I have read is that no other city has broken even, Hope Evanston is the first. All of Divvy’s deal guarantee that Divvy makes a profit. If the deal falls short, the city tax payers pay.

        Next time you say something is completely false, don’t make your point by saying it is not false.

        1. How about we stop building
          How about we stop building all new car infrastructure until we “break even?” The idea that public transit (which is what Divvy is) should break even is ridiculous. The amount cited (under 500k) is a minuscule sum for a network of its size and is less than a penny per city resident. By comparison, Evanston lost over 100k keeping a restaurant open for a few years on Dempster and McCormick, a private good that benefited literally no one other than the business owners. Throw in another 100k for a failed luxury transportation company owned by a former city official that also did not benefit the public.

          The real issue here is you simply have something against cyclists. I speculate that it’s because you think they get in your way while you drive, a common complain for people that belong in more auto “friendly” suburbs than in urban cities like Chicago, Evanston, and Oak Park. The character and property values of our town are tied to our ability to walk, bike, and take mass transit. Auto oriented suburbs are a dime a dozen.

          1.  Who will use Divvy?


            Sorry Bob, you need help with the math.  While not important, I'll let you work out your math errors.

            Chicago is a city of mostly low income people. Most who do not own bikes. Perhaps Divvy will be a benefit to Chicago citizens.

            Evanston is a city were wealth is above average compared to the Chicago area. Most Evanston families own bikes, like me, and use them. The only thing wrong with bikes in Evanston is the police do not appear to enforce the lawn. I admit it is hard to do.

            Evanston citizens will not use the Divvy bikes on any regular basis.

            Northwestern students will use the bikes more than citizens but many of them have their own bikes and/or cars.

            Business vistors will seldomly use the Divvy bikes. That is just common sense.

            Tourist types will probably use the bikes at a higher percentage out of all other groups.

            There is a limit of about 8 months per year when there will be any bike rentals. November thru February are not bike rental months. The weather is just too harsh.

            We will find out over the next year how well our council negoitated with Divvy. 




          2. Divvy usage rates

            I assure you that based on usage data in similarly situatated cities (Cambridge Mass' Hubway comes to mind), Evanston residents will use Divvy at very high usage rates. 

            Your statements of who will not use Divvy indicate that you simply misunderstood the nature of the program and bike share in general. Divvy does not target tourists or "low income" people without bikes to be able to take a leasurly ride around a park. Rather, it is a transit program that seeks to bridge the last 1-3 miles of an individual's commute. For example, residents near Church and Dodge can take it to the Davis St Metra rather than waiting for a bus, driving and looking for parking, or walking. It is a US Dept of Transportation program. 

            Statistically, most Divvy users own personal bikes and don't want to deal with the hassle and risk of locking them up. Regarding math and finances, let's assume that you are right (which you would know you are not if you learned to use Google) and that Divvy operates at a massive loss.  I am of the opinion that it is perfectly acceptable for governments to spend money on public goods. Transit infrastructure is a public good, and that is what Divvy is. You would probably prefer that we instead spend even more money faciliate your right to travel slightly faster in a metal death box, but to each his own. 


          3. Actually, the Divvy program makes a profit

            "[CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld] also told Hilkevitch in no uncertain terms that Divvy is in the black, thanks to its $12.5 million, five-year sponsorship deal with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, plus income from advertising placards on the docking stations. “The overall system revenue… brings in income to Divvy and the city’s bike programs. Overall Divvy is not losing money. CDOT is investing the revenue from Divvy in bike infrastructure improvements such as bike lanes, bicycle safety education and other programs that benefit the entire City of Chicago, not just Divvy users.”

            From an article last year:



            Where do you get your facts, skipw?

  4. Excited for Divvy
    Great news! Hopefully this rollout is successful. I am hoping they add future stations in some of the more densely populated residential areas. If people don’t have a divvy station within .25 miles of where they live, they will likely not use the system very often…

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