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Lyft’s bike share plan for Divvy topped Uber’s unworkable idea: city

Divvy bikes

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is proposing that the city's Divvy bikeshare program be turned over to Lyft under a nine-year deal. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Six years ago, Chicago charted a course on how to bring bike sharing to our city. We created Divvy and built a city-wide bike share system through a public private partnership. Divvy has been a remarkable success story on every level. It has become an iconic piece of Chicago’s transportation landscape and sets the gold standard for bike sharing nationwide.

Despite the recent article claiming otherwise, the proposed contract amendment introduced by the Chicago Department of Transportation and Mayor Rahm Emanuel — to expand and improve Divvy in partnership with our operator Lyft — represents the best deal for the city, taxpayers and bike share in Chicago.

Instead of building on the six years of investment and sweat equity that has made Divvy a success, Uber presented a proposal that foolishly seeks to throw that progress out the window and start over to build a new bike share program. That’s not a scenario the city will entertain. The idea that Uber could, from scratch, achieve city-wide service by May and match the current level of customer service that Chicagoans expect isn’t just implausible, it’s laughable.

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Further, the financial aspects of Uber’s offer are highly misleading and pale in comparison to Lyft’s solid commitment to the city to invest $50 million in capital and provide a guarantee of at least $77 million in cash to the city to support transportation.

Under the proposed expansion of the Divvy system with Lyft, the city retains the authority to set quality standards, approve significant price changes and share in rider and advertising revenues in partnership with the operator of high-quality bike sharing systems across the country. Such control would not exist in Uber’s proposal for a privatized bike share system. And perhaps more importantly, Uber has never executed a bike sharing program to the scale of what exists in Chicago to the standards Divvy riders expect.

Although the article incorrectly argued otherwise, the only thing the city left on the table was an unworkable idea.

Rebekah Scheinfeld, commissioner, Chicago Department of Transportation

A society free of guns and violence

Guns, mental instability and hatred create a lethal mixture. Mass shootings like those in New Zealand and Aurora, and daily random violence are the end result. Getting rid of the hatred in the hearts of some of our fellow human beings will be much more difficult than taking guns out of the mix.

But in a country that is awash in gun violence, it is time to take a hard look at this weapon of mass destruction. A person who owns a gun is declaring that under certain circumstances, he is willing to take the life of another fellow human. All gun owners fall in this category, even so-called responsible gun owners. It has been shown, day in and day out, that no one with a gun can be trusted not to use it if he becomes mentally unbalanced, provoked in a fit of rage, or when the heart is full of hate.

A majority in this country would prefer a society free of guns and the violence they produce. The question is, how long will the majority continue to allow a minority to block meaningful change? If the gun-rights side continues to prevail and refuses to budge an inch, the majority might have to resort to the power of the boycott to target businesses, cities and states that cater to those who won’t be satisfied until everyone is walking around with a gun on their hip.

Ned L. McCray, Tinley Park