Bike sharing service offers university discounts

Paige Leskin, City Editor

Students from Northwestern and five other area colleges will now be able to use bike sharing service Divvy for a reduced price.

The newly created Student Membership program will make a yearlong membership available to students for $55, a $20 discount from the standard fee, according to a news release from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office.

The membership includes an unlimited number of trips under 30 minutes, according to the Divvy site. Trips more than a half hour will incur additional charges.

Along with NU, the other participating institutions are City Colleges of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, DePaul University, Rush University Medical Center and University of Illinois at Chicago. The program extends to both undergraduate and graduate students at the six schools, with more expected to sign on, according to the news release.

“Money can be tight for college students and making Divvy even more affordable will help students get around campus and enjoy Chicago’s neighborhoods,” Emanuel said in the news release. “With the upcoming expansion of Divvy into more neighborhoods and our continued growth of dedicated bike lanes throughout the city, this is another step forward as Chicago continues to set a new standard for other cities to follow.”

The discount follows the announcement on Sept. 28 from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s office that Divvy will expand into Evanston in spring 2015. The city will install eight bike docking stations due to a $3 million investment from the state, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

Now that Evanston is expected to be home to Divvy next year, officials are turning to the NU community to gauge its reactions to the bike service, City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said.

“We have heard from some, but not many students, about this,” he said. “Our hope is that we begin to hear more from students at Northwestern about Divvy so that we can better understand what the impact of expanding the bikes will be to the Northwestern student body.”

Weinberg junior Kevin Harris, vice president of community relations for Associated Student Government, said he has started to reach out to city officials and NU staff to see how ASG can play a role in bringing Divvy to Evanston and helping to establish docking stations on campus.

The reduced rate will make Divvy a more attractive option for community members, he said.

“We’ve kind of had our eye on this for a while,” Harris said. “The cheaper it is, the better it is for students.”

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