City Offering Low Cost Annual Memberships Based on Ability to Pay; New Program Launched as Divvy Expands to New Neighborhoods
CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–July 7, 2015. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that Divvy is breaking down barriers to access the popular bike-share program by offering reduced-cost annual memberships to residents. Under the new initiative, Divvy for Everyone (D4E), Chicago residents with incomes below 300 percent of the federal poverty level who don’t have a credit or debit card will qualify for a $5 annual Divvy membership, compared to the regular $75 price. The effort follows a major expansion of Divvy to new neighborhoods earlier this year, and a record-breaking weekend for ridership over the Fourth of July.
“In two years Divvy has grown to more neighborhoods and become a transit option for more residents, but cost was still a barrier for too many people,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Divvy only works when everyone has a chance to use it. Today we are bridging gaps by offering $5 annual memberships so more residents can benefit from Divvy, regardless of their ability to pay.”
The D4E program is available to Chicago residents who have a maximum combined household income of 300 percent of the federal poverty level. D4E provides a one-time one-year membership for $5 with no credit or debit card required. Applicants must appear in person at any of five Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Financial Opportunity Centers – located in Bronzeville, Englewood, East Garfield Park, Humboldt Park and Ravenswood – and provide proof of income and Chicago residency. They will be charged $5 if found qualified and will be issued a Divvy member key on-site.
The City is exploring a number of options for people to be able to continue their memberships at full price after the initial year, these include payment plans, cash payment options, and a pathway to credit-building and financial empowerment programs with LISC Financial Opportunity Centers.
“As a longtime advocate for bike usage in the Third Ward — more specifically in Bronzeville — I am proud to support the Divvy for Everyone program,” said 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell. “This partnership between CDOT, Divvy, and community agencies allows the usage of Divvy Bikes to be more affordable for residents across the City of Chicago.”
Divvy is working with two local organizations on D4E outreach efforts: Slow Roll Chicago and Go Bronzeville. Slow Roll Chicago, which dedicated to building a diverse, inclusive and equitable bicycle culture in Chicago, is conducting citywide outreach; and Go Bronzeville is focused on building local awareness in the Bronzeville community.
“Convenient and affordable transportation is a lynchpin to quality of life,” said Rebekah Scheinfeld, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), which manages Divvy. “Divvy is a transportation resource that can help working families save money and can often make the difference in terms of providing crucial access to jobs. We’re very excited to be able to expand access to Divvy through the D4E Program.”
“Divvy is about more than just biking. Nearly 80 percent of our members are using it to connect to transit, and 75 percent say it’s a way to save time on their commutes,” said Elliot Greenberger, General Manager of Divvy. “We’re excited to make Divvy more accessible to more working class families who often face a disproportionate burden of time or cost in their commutes. Divvy, and its operator, Motivate, are deeply committed to ensuring that bike share benefits residents of all income levels and backgrounds.”
The D4E program is made possible through a $75,000 grant from the Better Bike Share Partnership and matching funds from Divvy’s exclusive system sponsor, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL). In addition, the first 250 D4E members will receive a free bike helmet, thanks to BCBSIL’s sponsorship.
“We are proud to partner with the City of Chicago on the Divvy for Everyone initiative,” said Susana Vasquez, executive director of LISC Chicago. “Chicago is a city of neighborhoods and we praise the Mayor and CDOT for their commitment to help more residents in the communities LISC serves become a part of this program. Through Divvy for Everyone, more Chicagoans will have affordable access to the bike-share system and all the quality of life benefits that it brings. LISC’s Financial Opportunity Centers will lead on subsidized memberships and facilitate enrollment, to help this program grow.”
“Slow Roll Chicago is proud to partner with the Chicago Department of Transportation on the D4E program,” said Slow Roll Co-founder and President Oboi Reed. “This effort, together with Divvy’s expansion, will allow the system to serve significantly more communities of color and low- to moderate-income neighborhoods. We believe intensely in the transformative power of bicycles as a form of transportation. And, we consider Divvy a public resource that all Chicagoans should have equitable access to. We appreciate Divvy’s progress in this area and we look forward to helping grow the system even more in underserved communities across the City of Chicago.”
“We applaud Divvy and the City of Chicago for expanding access to this important transportation alternative to more Chicagoans,” said Donna Gerber, BCBSIL vice president of public affairs and community investment. “It fosters a healthy, active lifestyle that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois champions.”
Early this year, Divvy launched a major expansion to add 176 stations and more than 1,750 bikes, roughly doubling Divvy’s service area and making it the largest bike share system in North America in terms of number of stations and geographic area. Divvy’s service area now extends as far north as Touhy Avenue, as far south as 75th Street and as far west as Pulaski Road.
In just two years of operation, Divvy has grown in popularity and size. More than 9.25 million miles have been logged on Divvy bikes through more than 4.4 million trips. Divvy experienced record breaking ridership on the Fourth of July holiday, with over 24,500 trips taken in a single day.
For additional details on the D4E Program, see below, or go to: www.Divvybikes.com/d4e
Use the chart below to determine if qualify for a one-time D4E $5.00 membership.
Enrollment locations and hours:
Divvy is Chicago’s newest transit system, giving Chicago residents and visitors a bike on-demand at hundreds of stations across the city. Intended to provide an additional transportation option for getting around, Divvy is a convenient, fast, fun and affordable. For more information and a map of station locations, visit DivvyBikes.com. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is the exclusive System Sponsor of Divvy.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
With 8 million members, BCBSIL, a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, is the largest health insurance company in Illinois. Begun in 1936 in Chicago, BCBSIL remains member owned rather than publicly traded, and is committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and its communities, fostering greater access to care, and working to lower the overall cost of care while improving the health care quality and patient outcomes. Learn more at www.bcbsil.com, www.facebook.com/bluecrossblueshieldofillinois