Chicago Looks to Smooth the Train-Plus-Bike Commute

Starting with integrating fare payment. 

A Divvy bike-share station in Chicago (Photo by Steven Vance)

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Chicago’s popular Divvy bike-sharing system, which claimed bragging rights for sheer volume of riders in 2015, will soon be accessible via the cash-less Ventra cards that residents use to ride Metra.

The announcement comes from Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld, who said Monday that she’s working on an integration plan for the two modes, the Chicago Sun reports. Riders can rent a Divvy bike with a 24-hour-pass for $9.95 or an annual pass for $99. Allowing Ventra card holders to use their cards to rent a bike could prompt more CTA riders to hop off the bus or train and onto a bike for the final leg of their trip.

Scheinfeld made the first/last mile angle explicit in her announcement.

“In locating Divvy stations, we placed them close to CTA stations and bus stops where they can provide that crucial last-mile or first-mile access to jobs, schools and other destinations,” she said. “One-quarter of Divvy stations are within an eighth-of-a-mile of a CTA or Metra station.”

As Next City has covered, an integrated, cashless system can be one important piece of closing that final-mile gap. But another is cost — Portland’s bike-share, launched last year, offers a single, 30-minute ride option for $2.50, and systems in Washington, D.C., and Minnesota also offer a cheaper, shorter-term tier.

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Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian

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Tags: chicagotransit agenciesbike-share

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