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Discounted $55 annual Divvy memberships offered at 6 colleges

Divvy unveils 700 brand new bikes in July 2013

Students at six Chicago area colleges can now get discounted annual Divvy bike share memberships — even if they graduate or take a summer break in the next 12 months — under a new program announced Monday.

Annual student memberships of $55 instead of the usual $75 are now being offered to students of the City Colleges, Columbia College, DePaul University, Northwestern University, Rush University Medical Center and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Any undergraduate and graduate student may sign up for the discount, city of Chicago and Divvy officials said Monday in a news release.

“It must be purchased by a current student, but if that student graduates seven months into his or her Divvy membership, it’s still good for another five months,” Elliott Greenberger, Divvy general manager, told the Chicago Sun-Times. The membership also covers students during summer break, Greenberger said.

Students enrolled at a participating college may sign up by visiting http://DivvyBikes.com/student, selecting their school, and using their school email address and passwords that colleges will distribute to students.

Currently, Divvy is absorbing the student discount of $20 per membership, and colleges are helping Divvy market to their students, said Greenberger.

The discount is a way for Divvy to expand ridership during slower, colder months, and to convince discounted student riders to become future full-fare members, city officials said.

The $55 memberships entitle students to an unlimited number of 30-minute rides over a 12-month period from the date of sign-up. Extra fees apply if rides extend beyond 30 minutes.

More schools are expected to join the discount program in the coming months, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Divvy announced in a news release Monday.

The discounts come just as Divvy is expected to expand its 300 current bike stations to 545 in 2015 by adding stations in Evanston — home to Northwestern; Oak Park and Chicago.

Emanuel said the discounts will make moving around campus and enjoying Chicago “more affordable” for college students, for whom “money can be tight.”

Next year’s expansion will make Divvy the largest bike share program in North America, based on station count and square miles of service, according to the City of Chicago news release.

“With the upcoming expansion of Divvy into more neighborhoods and our continued growth of dedicated bikes lanes throughout the city, this is another step forward as Chicago continues to set a new standard for other cities to follow,’’ Emanuel said.

The City of Chicago shares profits from the operation of the Divvy bike share system with the manager, Alta Bicycle Share, said Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman Peter Scales.

The city also retains all of the profits from revenue generated by advertisements on Divvy station kiosks, Scales said.

Email rrossi@suntimes.com

Twitter @rosalindrossi