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by Steven Vance
The Chicago Tonight piece on WTTW about Divvy was pretty bad (a play off the Crain’s article). Crain’s seems to have a misunderstanding about how Divvy is supposed to operate. If anything, MORE tourists rather than more locals, help the program because tourists are more profitable.
As a Divvy member, I’ve had few issues. However, the process for daily rentals is a bit ridiculous (multiple screens of legalese and such), but I guess you have to protect yourself from lawsuits these days.
Link to Chicago Tonight piece here.
Yep, I wonder how many potential sales Divvy lost because the daily pass process is so long/arduous. The lakefront stations had queues 7-8 people deep last weekend (also an indicator that they need to increase the amount of lakefront path stations because that’s where the daypass money is made). I’ve also had to help people confused by the screen numerous times while at a station, and I only use divvy a few times a month.
What bugged me about the Crain’s piece is that their reporting on the operating loss last year was reasonable but that it said “reinforcing a view that Divvy is merely a toy for yuppies and tourists” without actually quoting anything with this view!
Because we don’t have all of the Divvy data for this year yet, I can only give a stat for 2013, but more than half of the rides were by annual members, not tourists.
They also seem to forget that you need the tourists to generate the revenue and get to profitability. It is their $7 passes (and overtime fees, judging by the number of bikes just laying on the lakefront grass on the weekend) that will “subsidize” the annual members.
No bike bashing is more entertaining than when the most affordable means of transportation is for “elites” or “yuppies”. It’s like “Elegance” from Hello Dolly. If you’re really high class, you walk.
$75 – The cost of an annual subscription to Divvy, providing easy access to transportation all over the city. (For example, in about 9-10 months of being a Divvy subscriber, i’ve ridden ~400 miles which amounts to ~18 cents per mile. A car costs between 60-80 cents per mile.)
$99 – Annual subscription to the crappy journalism at Crains. Luckily their pay-wall sucks and is easy to get around.
I agree with more stations along the lakefront path. I can already envision a lack of bicycles once nice warm days are more frequent. I would love to see more stations by Red and Green line stations, particularly on the South side.
I really wish Divvy would let annual pass holders use their key multiple times at a dock. There have been times that i’ve been with a non-divvy friend where we thought about taking a divvy but since it would be a pain in the butt to use the kiosk decided against it.
That would be great, but liability issues would never allow it. Every user must accept a liability waiver and there is no way for that to happen with multi-uses.
Have they ever installed a station with multiple kiosks?
Many if not most consumer directed liability waivers are pretty much unenforceable (according to my lawyer friends) due to the fact that in order for a common person to actually understand what they’re agreeing to, they’d need to retain counsel to review (kind of like EULA for software). Plus, it’s not as if the user has any chance to negotiate the terms of the agreement.
Regardless, i’m sure they could write a liability waiver that would cover them for this purpose, if that was the only thing stopping them.
So, basically, the liability waiver is the cause of all the problems being discussed here. Get rid of the waiver and the kiosk interaction time drops and allowing multiple users on a pass reduces kiosk usage.
I can heartily 2nd the need for this, especially at stations with a high amount of day pass use traffic!
As with most legal questions, the real answer is it depends. Plus, even when not enforced (and a quick google search will lead you to enough info to see how Illinois courts view them, which is generally not favorable, though there are situations where they are upheld) part of what companies rely on (often unspoken) is the hope that a person remembers filling it out, thinks a lawsuit would be pointless and never contacts an attorney to challenge the waiver in the first place.
Point being, liability waivers are not going away any time soon; no matter how many courts in Illinois indicate that they’re often unenforceable as a matter of public policy.
I totally agree with you. I was just making the point that if Divvy’s lawyers can write a document of questionable use for one rider, they can write a document of questionable use for multiple riders.
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