Why one Chicagoan loves bike share: It’s the most reliable transit in her neighborhood

by April Corbin, PeopleForBikes equity writer

Last year, Divvy announced it would place bike share stations every half-mile regardless of neighborhood demographics or density. That equity decision hasn’t gone unnoticed by south side residents.

“Honestly, I feel like Divvy bike is the only transit authority that is not afraid of impoverished areas,” says Morgan Williams, a bike share member and resident of the historically black community of Bronzeville on the southside of Chicago.

When she moved there from the city’s more affluent north side, she found herself in a public transportation desert. The buses and trains come infrequently, and walkability isn’t ideal. But there was one shiny blue option.

“The one thing that is everywhere is Divvy bike,” she says. “There’s one on every corner. I feel like access to coffee shops can’t be found, but you can find a Divvy station.”

That ubiquity is what led Williams to try Divvy for the first time. There was no clear way for her to get to the beach where she played volleyball using other forms of public transit, so she hopped on bike share despite having some reservations about riding in the city. She quickly learned that city riding wasn’t as scary as she’d imagined, and that riding bike share was often the quickest way around town.

“It’s everywhere I need—right by the train, by my house, by the beach, by where I get my eyebrows done, my grocery store, Walgreens, to everywhere in my community.”

Grateful for the access to her most frequented community spots, William isn’t shy about comparing it to the other forms of public transit.

“I really love Divvy. I wish there were more bike lanes. I wish the city did a better job of doing what Divvy is doing. If Divvy is more reliable than the bus, then there needs to be Divvy lanes instead of bus lanes.”

The Better Bike Share Partnership is a JPB Foundation-funded collaboration between the City of Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and thePeopleForBikes Foundation to build equitable and replicable bike share systems. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or sign up for our weekly newsletter. Story tip? Write april@peopleforbikes.org