Give Divvy A Chance To Become Cost Neutral

Here are some talking points should anyone wish to support the opportunity to expand Divvy and access additional revenue at the Council meeting 9/17 or via email to your alderman. Full details can be found in the staff memo in the packet for the Transportation & Parking Committee on 8/29.

The Ask

  • Evanston has very few services that can even aspire to be cost neutral.
  • Divvy stands a better than good chance of getting there in 2019.
  • Support the proposed Divvy expansion and contract extension.

Divvy Current Status Snapshot

  • The Divvy program was at the top of the list for “we can do without” services in the recent Priority Based Budgeting citizen survey.
  • The survey covered only programs where costs exceeded revenues.
  • Divvy is running considerably under budget in 2018; memberships and ridership are trending upward.
  • An equity-driven D4E (Divvy for Everyone) program has only just been launched.

The Opportunity -- On the APW & Council Agendas for 9/17

  1. Buy 3 15-dock stations with 10 bikes each for $34,000 (installed). Offer expires 10/1.
  2. Authorize a joint agreement with Chicago to a pro rata sharing of revenue from sponsorship agreements to be negotiated in 2019 (typically lasting five years).
  3. Extend the contract with Motivate to operate Divvy in Evanston for three years.

Then What

  • Use the “new” docks/bikes to expand Divvy coverage to underserved neighborhoods westward. (Increased density and access to desirable destinations like the Levy Center or perhaps Robert Crown promote the success of the program overall.)
  • Continue to monitor usage and assess docking locations through an equity lens.
  • Work with Motivate (now owned by Lyft) to continue to explore equity-focused expansion opportunities and potential integration with other transport modes.

Why It Makes Sense to Spend $34,000 on a Program Nobody Voted For

  • The “used” expansion docks, bikes and installation are dirt cheap – a savings of about $150,000 over “new.”
  • COE’s partners (CDOT, Motivate) have documented their intentions and have the resources to make it happen; COE has enjoyed good working relationships with both.
  • The best upside is $94,000 in net revenue in 2019; the worst downside is $7,000 in net cost.

Why Bother With Divvy at All?

  • Divvy provides an alternative to gas emission transportation modes for short trips.
  • Divvy makes bikes available to those who may not want or cannot afford personal bike ownership.
  • Divvy’s availability makes it possible for Evanstonians who so choose to become more physically active in their daily lives.
  • Divvy’s locations, if chosen wisely, can make COE destinations more equitably accessible.