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Divvy Bikes expanding service to South, West sides

Divvy Bikes expands its services, adding 85 bike stations to neighborhoods on the South Side and West Side. | Virginia Barreda/Sun-Times

Strap on those bike helmets because Divvy Bikes has just expanded its services, adding 85 bike stations to neighborhoods on the South Side and West Side.

Shanika McBride said she’s been using Divvy for about a year and is pleased the expansion.

“I think Divvy provides the community with a healthy transportation option,” said McBride, who lives in East Garfield Park. “It helps me get to work. Sometimes I just use it for joyrides. it helps me relieve stress.”

Divvy added stations in Austin and Garfield Park on the West Side; Burnside, Chatham, Greater Grand Crossing, Brighton Park, and Englewood on the South Side; and Rogers Park on the North Side.

Divvy, owned by the Chicago Department of Transportation, now offers over 580 stations and 5,800 bikes to 1.73 million Chicagoans.

“Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been committed to providing affordable and safe options by all types of commuting – driving, transit, as well as bicycling,” said Kevin O’Malley, Chicago Department of Transportation deputy commissioner. “By expanding it in all the neighborhoods, it shows that commitment to making sure that Divvy is available to everyone in Chicago.”

Ron Burke, executive director of Active Transportation Alliance, said it is good to see the program growning.

“It’s encouraging to see that we’ve gone from pushing the bike system as a mode of public transportation to people everywhere asking for Divvy,” Burke said. “The demand is there, which is great.”

The bike-sharing program, operated by Motivate International Inc., is also celebrating the first anniversary of Divvy For Everyone, a program that offers reduced fares for people with “financial hardship.”

The program, which has over 100 members, provides a one-time $5 subsidized fee for annual membership for those who qualify.

“People think of Divvy and they think of commuting and tourists, and have this idea that it’s for a very specific type of person,” said Divvy general manager Elliot Greenberger. “But we’re seeing that people actually use it to meet friends and run errands too.”

This weekend, Divvy will partner with Sanpellegrino Sparkling Fruit Beverages to provide people with free rides for 24 hours across major cities throughout the country.

Valet services will also be available this month for the Chinatown Summer Fair, Pitchfork Music Festival, Wicker Park Fest and Lollapalooza.