Ever since the Divvy bike-sharing service launched in Chicago, the default time limit on rides has been 30 minutes—keep a bike out any longer than that, and you were faced with extra fees. While the proliferation of Divvy docks and ridership (3.8 million trips in 2017, up 200,000 trips from 2016 according to StreetsBlog) has increased, the service is clearly looking for new ways to draw in new users.
Beginning on February 1, Divvy is going to let everyone ride a little longer with the introduction of its new pricing structure. The service is doing away with its current 24-hour pass, which grants unlimited 30-minute rides for $9.95, and introducing a new Explorer Pass, which costs $15 and will allow riders to take out bikes for up to three hours during a 24-hour period. It's a move that's clearly aimed at making it easier for tourists and visitors to use Divvy like a bike rental service, though it might make it harder to find a docked bike in high-traffic areas.
Annual Divvy members will also see some changes on February 1; they'll be able to keep bikes out of the docks for 45 minutes at a time, an increase from the previous limit of 30 minutes.
Finally, Divvy is introducing a $3 single ride pass, which allows riders to take out a bike for a single 30-minute ride. The service is also simplifying its overage pricing structure for all customers—if you keep a bike out longer than your allotment, you'll be charged $3 for an extra 30 minutes.
While these are all welcome changes for Divvy users, they also have the potential to unbalance the system and make it more difficult for people to find bikes when they need them (which is the entire purpose of a bike-sharing system). The fact that Divvy is launching these changes in February, a month when ridership is probably down, is a good sign—the team will have plenty of time to work out the kinks in the system before summer arrives and everyone wants to hit the streets on two wheels.