Post-Launch, Divvy Drawing 67 New Annual Members Each Day

Divvy: Annual member sign ups, May 29 to July 22
Annual member sign-ups have been rising at a steady clip since Divvy launched.

As of this Monday, 3,157 annual members had signed up for Divvy bike-share, putting Chicago between the initial growth rate of systems in Washington, DC, which started with 49 stations in September, 2010, and New York City, which started with a little more than 300 stations on May 27.

Divvy launched with 68 stations three-and-a-half weeks ago and finished installing the initial 75-station batch this past weekend. Growth is likely to pick up as Divvy expands to more residential areas outside of downtown, and the network becomes more useful.

Prior to the system going live, people signed up for the annual membership at the rate of 49 per day. Post-launch, sign-ups are now at about 67 per day.

Since Friday, Divvy has installed seven more stations, bringing the total to 79, including three on the South Side, with two in Bronzeville and one in Pilsen. Boston-based programmer Nick Doiron and I made this map that shows the expansion of Divvy.

The northernmost station is also new, at Sheffield/Wellington (3000 N), as is the southernmost station, at 31st Street Beach (3100 S).

GeoGinger
Green dots are the stations added since Friday.
  • J

    Oh man. Add those stations fast! NYC already has over 60,000 annual members and is still adding 300-500 new members each day. It’s like a magnet. The bigger it is, the more attractive it becomes.

  • BlueFairlane

    How many members is the target? Say, a year from now where would the city like to see Divvy?

  • If it’s not at least 10,000 by the end of the year I’ll be highly disappointed. Citibike is already over 60,000. If the numbers are sustainable, Divvy would be at roughly 25,000 within one year of launch.

  • Anonymous

    Is there a public timetable for the new stations? We could really use a link out here in Logan Square. I’d love to have a membership for visiting friends to use.

  • Way back when the provisional map was first announced, there were color-coded tranches with estimated install dates … I deleted my link to it when they put up the new website with the live map, unfortunately, but our hosts may have it indexed somewhere?

    From my foggy recollections, this first batch of additional stations seems to be going in faster than it was estimated to do, initially, so the dates on that old map would only be ‘guidelines’.

  • Anonymous

    I find this link to be useful.

    http://bikes.oobrien.com/chicago/
    It shows a real time counter of stations available. You can see it tick up during the day. As of this morning, the counter stood at 80.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’ll be around 10,000 by year end. There might be an uptick in signups as more docks roll out, but new signups will likely plunge in November. If you just straightline the 67 members per day signing up, Divvy would end the year with about 13,000 members.

    Capital Bikeshare new members signup rate in November is about half what it is during summer, and in December it’s about 20%. Divvy will probably close the year with around 10,000 members.

  • J

    The new map on the Divvy site is really useful, showing when and where new stations will be added. You can also turn off the future stations so it’s easy to see the exact extents of the current system. Other systems should take note of this, as it’s very helpful.

  • Brian

    I wish they would hurry up, I’m tired of hearing about all of these stations that they are going to add, and then they don’t. They were supposed to have lakeview done by the end of the month, but they have dont nothing. Seems like they are moving pretty slow. I want to use it to cut down on the time it takes me to go to and from the el.

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone know the annual operating cost of Divvy? I wonder how close it can get to financial self-sufficiency. I assume it can’t. I also wonder if NY comes closer.

  • My iOS app can be found online at http://bikechi.com/chicago. It doesn’t tell you how many bike sharing stations there are.

    I just checked the API. There are 81 stations online!

  • The enormous icons are still getting in the way of zooming to the spot you want.

  • Anonymous

    Capital Bikeshare’s operating costs are about $1,850 per bike, supposedly. Not sure if that includes overhead.

    I think Divvy might come close to beakeven assuming similar costs, actually.

  • Anonymous

    83!

    Earlier you linked a web page that you had developed. I remember it because it had that neat feature where you zoom out the individual stations disappear, and it becomes a number by area. That is what I was referring to.

  • Yep, there are 83 stations online now!

    That’s the website, but here’s a direct link to the zoomed-out view you’re talking about.

  • Anonymous

    85!

    I think my browser is having an off day. It won’t show the map.

  • I imagine as soon as they get good coverage around the various campuses a bunch of college students are going to buy yearpasses.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the info!

  • Anonymous

    Well, they are hurrying up. So far today 8 new stations came online, including a few stations in Lakeview. That’s a 10% increase in capacity in one day.

  • Anonymous

    88!

    I tried it again on my home pc. Neither IE nor FireFox wanted to display the map correctly.

  • Anonymous

    So quick back of the envelope is that to support 4000 bikes you need to generate $7.4M in annual revenue, which would mean 100,000 annual members if that was the only revenue source. But you’ve got ads on the kiosks and day trippers.

  • Anonymous

    If the goal is to have 4,000 bikes, I dont think Divvy will come close to breaking even on an operating profit basis for a few years, but eventually it could.

    Capital Bikeshare has 35,000 members with about 2,000 bikes,. If you think DC is a good proxy for Chicago, then perhaps we can get to 70,000 members with 4,000 bikes in a couple years, but it’ll definitely take time. 70,000 members would generate $5.2m for Divvy, which goes a long way to covering the opex (again, assuming it’s the same per bike).

    Assuming average 24 hour pass rates per day during the winter and other periods, I think it’s reasonable that with 4,000 bikes Divvy could sell about 250,000 passes per year, which is about $1.7m. Add on overtime charges and some other misc revenue and it’s right around breakeven.

    But it’ll take time. DC’s membership rate kinda stagnated until year two, when it saw a giant jump in new members during the spring, presumably due to pent up awareness and more docks being installed. I bet we see something similar in Chicago next May.

  • Eek, I didn’t realize it didn’t work on Firefox. Since my target audience is iOS app users, I only test on Safari!

    It works properly in Chrome. I’ll have to work on getting it to display properly in Firefox – that’s an important browser. (I can’t test IE because I don’t use Windows.)

  • My husband pointed out a valid issue that’s standing between him and a yearly membership: what happens when we start plowing snow? First, will the kiosks be kept clear? But mostly, imagine a fairly serious fall, with trucks clearing streets as fast as they can in the dead of night. For the kiosks that are in parking spaces on the street, they get a massive, heavy berm of snow plowed up on them (assuming the trucks can see the kiosk and not hit it). Can the technology stand up to that, or will it be bending bikes and breaking docks? Moving snow as it’s being plowed has been known to shift Jersey barriers, and I have no idea how sturdy the dock hardware bits are.

  • tamanduabeijo

    Is there any resource that provides approximate dates when stations north of Belmont will open?

  • tamanduabeijo

    Any word on north side stations past Belmont? Stations for Lincoln Square and Andersonville are in the future map, but how far in the future?

  • Anonymous

    I wonder how transparent the financials will be. Somewhere is there an itemization of the uses for the federal grant?

  • Anonymous

    NiceRide in Minneapolis is seasonal I’ve read. How Divvy holds up will be interesting. Maybe the city can do some cart-away work at Divvy stations where the plowing can’t avoid creating a barrier.

  • Anonymous

    All good questions…I have no idea. I would imagine that Divvy’s usage will be much more seasonal than DC’s – much harsher winters. There is a possibility that new member signups and 24 hour passes will be almost nothing in Dec-Mar.

  • Fred

    Boston and Toronto have been using these bikes/docks since 2011, and Montreal since 2009. How have these cities handled this issue? I assume Montreal (where the system was born) gets snow and designed the system appropriately.

  • No word…

  • Montréal’s BIXI used to shut down in the winter but now they just reduce the fleet size.

  • Since I published this article, 12 stations have been installed in Pilsen, Wicker Park, Bronzeville, and Logan Square.

  • I think many businesses will be interested in keeping stations open. It will be a while before many of them are convinced that’s a worthwhile activity, though.

  • Anonymous

    I think Minneapolis’ program is closed in the winter as well, their annual report doesn’t even bother giving usage stats for Dec-Mar, and April and May have pretty low usage.

  • Anonymous

    Nice…hopefully Lakeview soon.

  • Anonymous

    Well, to be fair it’s still losing a decent amount of money after including overhead costs. Arlington’s cost recovery was 87% in FY12 (June fiscal year end) but this was before overhead costs which are not insignificant. Factoring those costs in, the cost recovery was 64%. Nevertheless, this was still a nice improvement over 2011. This is generally the nature of a business in growth mode.

    http://www.bikearlington.com/tasks/sites/bike/assets/File/Arlington_Bikeshare_FY12_Sum_Report.pdf

    My hunch is that DC is going to be more profitable than Chicago just because of the mild winters. Minneapolis looks like it had a -50% operating margin in 2011 and covered the balance with various grants and sponsorships. I know Divvy has some limited ad sales but I’m not sure if they can use sponsorships as a significant source of revenue. Minneapolis does in fact remove the bikes during the winter in order to prevent damage from road salt.

    I think the real hope with Divvy is that they get the same kind of usage as they expand outwards from downtown. If yes, this should be self-sustaining over time.

    Btw, the Capital Bikeshare development report has some high quality stuff in it if you are interested in really granular analysis.

    http://www.bikearlington.com/tasks/sites/bike/assets/File/Arlington_County_Capital_Bikeshare_TDP_FY2013-2018_Nov2012.pdf

  • As of this morning, all the northside ones are complete; the 4 remaining green bubbles are all Navy Pier or more south. Wonder when the next batch will be announced/scheduled!

  • DC ran a small operating surplus on its side of Capital Bikeshare, even without advertising revenue. It also receives the lion’s share of daily member revenue, which is where the profits are.

    Arlington has a smaller system, and its network was not (at that time) connected — it had two corridors with bikes then. I’d expect Chicago to do better financially.

    Toronto runs its system year-round, and has broadly similar weather to Chicago. During snowfall events, the system will go into lock-down mode. Haven’t heard about wrecked bikes as a result of being buried in snow, though.

  • CaBi annual membership pretty consistently grows faster during the warmer months and slower in the winter, and the system launched in the fall of 2010. (People here are winter wimps.) The giant jump in March 2011 was due to a half-off promotion just as the weather got warm.

  • Anonymous

    Divvy hit 10,000 today, 10/10.

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