90 Annual Members Join Divvy Each Day, as System Closes In on 300 Stations

Riding a Divvy
Riding a Divvy bike in Pilsen.

Last Friday, Divvy eclipsed Capital Bikeshare in Washington, D.C., to become the second largest bike-share system in the United States.

Divvy riders have collectively pedaled over 1,100,000 miles since the first trip 91 days ago. The program has been called “transformative,” “a great success story,” and “a beautiful thing in Bronzeville” and there are now over 8,900 annual members. In the 30-day period ending this Wednesday, an average of more than 90 annual members joined each day, up from an average of about 50 new members in the system’s early days. The acceleration in new memberships has tapered recently, with the growth rate steadying over the last two months.

Daily memberships show a similar pattern. From the June 28 launch to July 27, an average of 618 24-hour passes were sold each day. In the following month there were 1,208 passes sold on average each day, then an average of 1,210 passes in the most recent 30-day period.

Divvy is approaching the same number of stations as Citi Bike in New York City, with 271 now online and 300 stations and 3,000 bikes to be installed by the end of September. New York has 330 stations and almost 6,000 bikes.

With nearly 9,000 members in its first three months, Divvy’s membership growth has outpaced Capital Bikeshare — which needed several more months and a Living Social promotion to eclipse the 9,000 member mark. Citi Bike, with more than 80,000 annual members already, is still way out in front.

In terms of ridership, Chicago is also between DC and New York. Divvy saw an average of nearly 6,400 trips per day in the last month. It took Capital Bikeshare nearly two years to reach that level, while Citi Bike users make more than 30,000 trips each day.

Annual members now make a majority of the trips on Divvy. A month ago, daily pass holders took 66 percent of trips but now make less than half, indicating Divvy use is becoming more integral to Chicagoans’ daily lives.

In DC, membership growth slows when cold weather arrives but bounces back in the spring. The same will probably happen in Chicago as fall sets in and the final 29 stations are installed.

  • Anonymous

    Is there any data on membership renewal rates?

  • Bryan

    Bought a membership on Tuesday after wavering all summer. Excited to give it a whirl this weekend with a beautiful forecast on tap.
    I already have a bike, but figured I’d find enough uses for it with one-way trips, trips after dark with all its flashy lights and when the wife decides she wants to go for a ride with me.

  • Do you mean data on how many 24-hour pass buyers became annual members?

  • So far I’ve used my membership mostly to show it off to friends and family.

  • Bryan

    I’m guessing the % annual pass renewals for other systems… DC must have data on this. I know their number of annual pass users has continued to increase, not sure about retention rates.

  • Anonymous

    That would be interesting too, but what I meant was the experience of DC with retention of annual members.

  • Mishellie

    I’ve been thinking it might be a nice option for me for winter commuting instead of making a mess of my bike.

  • Bryan

    Steven,

    The figures above comparing Divvy to DC and NY are interesting, but have you tried to capture it on a more apples to apples basis. i.e. relating the number of annual members (or miles biked or trips taken) to the number of bikes in system (or stations or even better – population within bike share system)?

    I guess it’s probably a little dicey to do this for Divvy at this point since they’re still in continual growth mode in terms of bikes and stations.

    Where do you think the number of annual members will be at by the end of the year? I was thinking I read that you or John were estimating 10K early on…are you revising upwards? Maybe 12-13K?

  • Bryan

    I was thinking the same as well. Figure those beasts are more stable and better suited for winter weather than my bike.

  • Anonymous

    I have to drive for my reverse commute out to the suburbs, but purchased a Divvy pass for getting around on evenings & weekends w/o having to rely on the CTA (or cabs) and not wanting to use my car.

    It quickly became my primary method of weekend transportation, and is my default plan when heading anywhere in the city now. I tend to use the Divvy station map (and the CycleFinder App) more than I use googlemaps.
    After just 11 weeks of annual membership i believe it’s already paid for itself. If you’re on the fence I’d say go ahead and pull the trigger.

    Now…if only there was a station planned closer to my home than a half mile away…

  • Katja

    Yeah, that’s my plan with it.

  • I’ll ask.

  • I haven’t done this, but there’s sufficient data for someone to do the analysis.

    Comparing to other cities in the way I’ve done here (reviewing member enrollment) is useful to know if the “take up” of the bike-share system is equivalent to other cities and can be used to show when a city’s residents are not adopting the new transit system as well or quickly as other cities.

    I question the usefulness of comparing trips per station or trips per bike as that will highlight existing member activity. I’m trying to see if we have the amount of members Divvy “should” have, and see if perhaps Divvy should actually have more members by this time.

    Knowing station activity will be useful, just looking at Chicago, to see if stations can be placed in/moved to different locations that may receive greater use and visibility.

  • You should definitely have lights on every trip you make on your own bike.

  • Anonymous

    The Divvy site lists all of the planned sites, but is there a second wave planned? There are plenty of Divvy ads up in the far north/northwest sides of the city (West Ridge, Jefferson Park, Portage Park), but seemingly no plans to get Divvy out there. Any word on that? I tweeted to the Divvy account about NW side with no response.

  • There are 29 more stations to be installed this month to reach 300.

    There are 100 stations that will be installed in 2014 that are on the map. I think it’s on DNA Info today where commissioner Klein was quoted as saying they are working on funding for 75 more stations, meaning a total of 475 stations.

  • Bryan

    Re station activity, do you know if/when Divvy will make that available? Trips per station and so on. Tribune had some nice graphics early on, but haven’t seen anything since. I was hoping Divvy or whomever owns this data would be more transparent and make a lot of this available.

    I’d guess some of this could be teased out from the changes in bikes at a station, but there’d probably be a decent amount of noise caused by re-balancing.

  • Some developers have been collecting data and one of our readers has posted the near-real-time info to his website:
    http://viddy.gensym.org/stations.html

    However, this is not a view of “station activity” but minute-to-minute snapshots of the available docks and available bikes as reported by the API. It doesn’t report when bikes are removed or added for rebalancing purposes.

    Divvy & CDOT have said they’ll release the data; see this article: http://chi.streetsblog.org/2013/07/03/divvy-data-for-the-first-weekend/

  • Trips per bike is the closest thing to a real apples-to-apples metric. Even then, though, some service areas have more residences, jobs, and destinations than others, and you wouldn’t expect them to have the same number of trips per bike. It makes sense for Chicago to fall somewhere between DC and NYC on the bike-share usage meter.

  • And yet take-up will be faster for systems that launch with more bikes, launch with more familiarity of bikeshare, and launch in warmer months* — and it’s impossible to control for those confounding factors — so direct comparisons might be somewhat useful, but aren’t exactly apples-to-apples.

    * Capital Bikeshare launched in September

  • Anonymous

    I keep forgetting to ask, has Divvy said anything about their winter plans? I can see a few potential things for them to consider.

    I’ve read that they don’t plan to pull the stations (Minneapolis apparently does). Usage will be down. What do they do in Montreal or Ottawa or Boston (similar weather, definitely harsher than DC or NYC)? It would seem sensible to pull some bikes off the streets to reduce wear and tear, but that could be tricky when a warm day pops up and people want to ride. Basically, are they at least thinking about this and not leaving the stations full all winter when usage (inevitably) drops?

    Stations on the street will get plowed in (like parked cars do), does Divvy have plans/staff to shovel them out?

  • Anonymous

    Take-up would have been even faster here had they launched when they planned (earlier in the year) and had the big expansion be in June-July instead of August-September.

  • All Divvy stations will be up during winter. Divvy is responsible for snow removal. They haven’t announced this publicly but I interviewed Divvy and CDOT for an upcoming article. There are more details than I’m revealing here.

  • I agree – and I believe this rollout schedule is responsible for the leveling off of membership additions.

  • Anonymous

    I think Divvy said on Twitter that they will reduce the number of bikes in the system during the winter.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, I’ll wait patiently for that article ;)

  • Anonymous

    That makes sense, if they do some rotating in and out, they can keep wear and tear down on the entire fleet.

  • crumpet

    I need my car about 2X a week for work travel. Despite this, I hope that the racks that are on the street will be removed in the winter to open up more parking spaces.
    I wonder how they are allocated. In my neighborhood, there are two within one block of a residential street.
    I get around primarily by walking, I think bikers must be held accountable for traffic violations since the norm is to zip through red lights and stop signs. I have seen pedestrian injuries and just like car drivers, bikers do not stop nor do they carry liability insurance.
    If I were physically able, I would own a bike as I did years ago when I was at university.
    Ferrara is the biking capital of Italy. I spent some time there and wow, were those drivers smart!

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