City Colleges of Chicago is providing free Divvy annual memberships to all students

The new Divvy station at Olive-Harvey College, with the system's new model of electric bikes. Note the Blue Brothers car jumping the 95th Street bridge over the Calumet River at the top of the ad panel. Photo: CDOT
The new Divvy station at Olive-Harvey College, with the system's new model of electric bikes. Note the Blue Brothers car jumping the 95th Street bridge over the Calumet River at the top of the ad panel. Photo: CDOT

The City Colleges of Chicago just made it a lot easier for its students to get to campus, by paying for free annual Divvy bike-share members for all enrollees. Representatives of CCC, Chicago Department of Transportation, and Lyft, the Divvy concessionaire, announced the initiative today at a ribbon-cutting for a new bike-share station at Olive-Harvey College in the Pullman community on the Far South Side.

To sign up for a free Divvy membership, CCC Students can opt in to the D4E program by logging into their student portal at my.ccc.edu.

This has been a big year for Divvy, as the system has expanded to cover all but eight of Chicago’s 77 community areas. (The areas that lack bike-share are mostly the neighborhoods on the city’s Far Northwest and Far Southwest sides where many police officers live.)

This was also a record-breaking year for ridership, with over 5.5 million rides taken in 2021, a more than 60 percent increase from 2020, when there were 3.4 million trips. The ridership bonanza reflect the fact that there are more stations and bikes than ever before; the speedy new electric Divvies have encouraged new people to use bike-share; and the nationwide cycling boom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new station at Olive-Harvey facilitate transit commutes to the college. It’s a roughly three-mile pedal to the school from the 95/Dan Ryan CTA Red Line station, and only about a mile to campus from the Metra Electric District line’s 103rd Street (Rosemoor) stop. CDOT installed roughly 30 miles of new bikeways on the Far South Side over the past two years.

It's about a three-mile bike ride from the Red Line to Olive Harvey. Image: Google Maps
It’s about a three-mile bike ride from the Red Line to Olive-Harvey. Image: Google Maps

“Divvy is coming off its best year ever and making steady progress toward the goal of full citywide coverage,” said CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi in a statement. “We are excited to be partnering with City Colleges to encourage students to join Divvy and use it as a go-to transportation option for getting to and from school, to connect to other transit modes and for trips around their neighborhoods.”

The new program gives City Colleges students a free one-year membership, including an unlimited number of 45-minute rides on the old-school blue bikes. When they ride the electric bikes in the fee zone (north of Pershing Road and east of Western Avenue), they’ll only pay pay 5 cents per minute, compared 15 cents per minute for regular members and 20 cents for non-members.

Officials at the (very cold) ribbon-cutting this morning. Photo: CDOT
Officials at the (very cold) ribbon-cutting this morning. Photo: CDOT

“We are thrilled that CDOT has chosen Olive-Harvey to be a Divvy recipient and a Divvy destination,” stated Kimberly Hollingsworth, president of Olive-Harvey College. This new station will connect our students and community to the entire bike network. This also gives our students more transportation options, connects them to transit more easily, and is part of healthy lifestyle.”

More good news from Olive-Harvey is that the college is, for the first time, offering an eight-week Bicycle Maintenance and Repair course, teaching students to rehab and repair bikes while developing “soft skills,” presumably communication techniques that would be useful in a bike sales or mechanic job. Classes run on Tuesdays from April 12 to May 31, and the fee is $99. For more information and to register, click here. It would be great to see more of the City Colleges offer classes like this, which help students fix keep their own bikes running so they can rely on them for transportation, as well as providing valuable job skills.

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