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Divvy bike-share expansion delayed until spring

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Divvy expansion hits a roadblock
That Divvy expansion in Chicago? It's been delayed.

Chicago's Divvy bicycle-sharing program plans to add 175 stations and 1,750 bikes in the spring, the city will announce Thursday, a behind-schedule expansion that will extend the program as far north as Touhy Avenue and as far south as 75th Street.

The expansion, originally planned for this year, was delayed because of the bankruptcy of a company that supplied equipment to a Divvy contractor.

Montreal-based Public Bike System Co., or Bixi, announced in January that it was filing for bankruptcy protection.

The Chicago Department of Transportation said at the time that Divvy's daily operations and expansion plans would not be affected, but city officials have since said the contractor, Alta Bicycle Share Inc. of Portland, Ore., has had problems acquiring new equipment since the Bixi bankruptcy.

"Alta is in the final stages of vetting multiple supplier options, all of whom have committed to spring delivery time frames,'' CDOT spokesman Pete Scales said Wednesday.

Divvy has grown to more than 2.3 million individual trips since the bike-share program was launched in June 2013, city officials said Wednesday.

The Divvy program currently has 300 docking stations and 3,000 bicycles. The original plan called for ramping up to 4,750 bikes and 475 stations this year, with the expansion extending Divvy stations to Touhy Avenue on the north, 75th Street on the south and as far west as Pulaski Road. The program initially focused on the downtown area.

Once a total of 475 docking stations are in operation, the bike-share program will expand from a current service area of 47.5 square miles in 18 wards to 87 square miles in 31 wards, Scales said. It would become the largest bike-sharing program in North America in terms of number of stations, city officials said, adding that Montreal currently operates 450 stations.

The new station map and trip data are available at divvybikes.com.

The Divvy public-private partnership is supported by $25 million in federal funding and $6.25 million in local matches.

Major goals of the bike-share program include reducing traffic congestion in the central business district and providing an alternative to driving or taking taxicabs for short trips, officials have said.

Divvy customers buy daily passes or annual memberships. Both provide unlimited rides of up to 30 minutes each. After 30 minutes, overtime fees are charged.

jhilkevitch@tribune.com Twitter @jhilkevitch

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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