Popular “Transit” App Now Enables Bypassing the Divvy Kiosk

three people wait in line at a Divvy station
If you’ve got a 24-hour pass for Divvy and you don’t want to wait in line behind these folks to retrieve your next ride code, pull out the updated “Transit” app. Photo: John Greenfield

A new partnership between Divvy and Transit app, you can now get 24-hour Divvy passes and ride codes via smartphone. This means that people who have just signed up for an annual membership won’t have to wait for a key to arrive in the mail before they can start using the blue bikes. It also means that folks who want to use bike-share for the day won’t have to wait in line at a kiosk to sign up for a pass and check out a bike.

I’ve been using the Transit app for over a year because it’s handy for figuring out the most convenient car-free travel options from wherever you are. It displays the next bus or train departure times for the three stops or stations closest to you in the iPhone notifications area, and many more in the app itself.

If you’ve just signed up for a Divvy membership and want to start riding now, you can download Transit to Android and iPhone, enter your Divvy account username and password, and request a ride code.

If you're at Rogers Park Social and open Transit, you'll see a result for the nearby Divvy station. If you're signed in to your annual membership account you'll see a button to get a ride code to unlock the bike without a key fob.
Let’s say you’re at the bar Rogers Park Social and want to check out travel options. The Transit App provides bus and Red Line arrival times, and also shows you there’s a Divvy station nearby. If you’re signed in as a Divvy member, the app will offer a ride code to unlock a bike.

You can then enter that three-digit code into the keypad of a Divvy dock to release a bike, just as you would if you’d signed up for a day pass at the kiosk. Even if you’re a longterm member, you can get ride codes via the app, which is handy if you need a bike but don’t have your key with you.

The Transit app allows you to enter payment information within and purchase a 24-hour pass, or use a promotional code.
Use the Transit App to enter payment information and purchase a 24-hour pass, or use a promotional code for a free pass.

Transit will also be timesaver for short-term Divvy users. It eliminates the need to ever wait in line to register for a day pass, as well as the need to re-insert your bank card into a kiosk every time you want to check out a bike during that 24-hour period.

The sign-up process at the kiosks is time-consuming due to slowly responding touch screens, and sometimes there are long lines at the kiosks at popular locations and after special events like music festivals.

A newsletter sent to Divvy members this morning said, “We hope this new feature makes it easier when you forget your key at home, when it isn’t convenient to bring your key out, or if you just prefer to do everything by phone.”

When you open the Transit App while you’re in Chicago, a new “Unlock & Pay for Divvy Bikes!” banner appears, which leads you to these instructions. If you’re not signed in as a Divvy member and you’re near a bike-share station, Divvy shows up as a transit option. A button to “Purchase Pass” also appears. If you’re signed in, you’ll be offered the option to get a ride code.

Divvy general manager Elliot Greenberger said that they’ll be upgrading kiosks “later this month and in to June which improves the speed of getting a pass and codes.” He said they’ve redesigned the “kiosk flow” and made improvements to the underlying software.

New software has eliminated a lot of the friction of checking out low-cost public bicycles, but many Chicago streets are still in line for an upgrade.


  • duppie

    Another day, another app I need to install….
    Why not include it in the Ventra app instead. To me the Ventra app has become to single app to look up buses and trains, and pay for boarding Metra and (soon) CTA.
    Now I need 3 apps: Ventra, CycleFinder, and Transitapp
    An opportunity missed, I’d say

    BTW, Steven: It’s time to renew your Divvy membership! :)

  • A lot of people have been using Transitapp preferentially for routing over Chicago transit, because its features are just better.

  • rpmute

    I was standing right under a kiosk at State and Kinzie and it told me “unable to connect, i need to be near a kiosk”. sheesh. Don’t expect too much at first.

  • A common app design idea is that an app should be really good at doing one thing. Do you need to use all three apps at the same time? CycleFinder and Transit app, sometimes, but do you need to use Ventra for bicycling?

    I, for one, wouldn’t want the CTA/Pace/Metra to ask its app maker (Globe Sherpa) to try to make a good Divvy app. I’d rather a good bike-share app get made.

  • If the map isn’t showing your current location well, you can pan the map so the blue dot (which starts out representing your location) closer to a Divvy station icon. Then, the transit options and the Divvy options will change.

    I do this often to check out what the transit options are on a different block (say, if you’re downtown) that you’re willing to walk over to.

  • MobiLock

    I completely agree that technology can be used to enhance any aspect and kiosk mode is something that every industry is adopting. There is one app called MobiLock Pro which easily turns your Android phones into kiosk mode. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.promobitech.mobilock.pro&hl=en


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