Mayor Lightfoot, CDOT, and BACP Announce Micromobility Expansion to Include Citywide Scooter Program
Three scooter companies to receive two-year electric scooter permits through program approved by Council in 2021 CDOT and Lyft will launch first-in-the-nation docked electric scooters with 1,000 scooters integrated into the Divvy system beginning this Spring
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CHICAGO - Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Commissioner Gia Biagi, and Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Commissioner Kenneth J. Meyer announced the selection of three companies to operate shared scooter programs across the city, with 3,000 scooters starting operations later this spring. In addition, the Divvy bike-share system will add 1,000 scooters, creating the first docked bike and scooter system in the nation. All enhancements are anticipated to launch in early May 2022.
In October 2021, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance to create a new business license category to allow up to three scooter-sharing companies to operate in the city. In January, BACP and CDOT launched a process to accept applications from prospective companies that will permit scooter operations citywide. The City evaluated license applications from a total of 6 companies: Lime, Spin, Bird, Helbiz, SuperPedestrian, and Veo. After an extensive review, the City plans to award licenses to Lime, Spin, and Superpedestrian.
“A scooter program offers another easy way for residents and visitors to choose active transportation to get around Chicago,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “As transportation costs go up, it is critical that we support micromobility solutions like shared bikes and scooters, which provide affordable ways to travel in Chicago without needing a car.”
CDOT and Lyft, which is the operator of the Divvy bike-sharing system, also announced today that 1,000 scooters will be incorporated into the downtown core of the Divvy system. The innovative docking scooters will be able to park at 230 stations in and near downtown, creating the first docked system in the nation that can accommodate both bikes and scooters side-by-side. Divvy scooters will be available under the existing membership programs, including the $5 per year Divvy For Everyone (D4E) program for low-income residents.
“CDOT has taken a balanced approach to bring bikes and scooters to Chicago in a responsible manner. Today’s announcement underscores our efforts to not only grow Divvy but to also welcome three scooter companies to the City. The Divvy program has been a huge success as ridership continues to break records and the system expands across Chicago,” said Commissioner Biagi. “With Lime, Spin, and Superpedestrian, Chicagoans have more options than ever to connect to the places they want to go.”
"We look forward to working with CDOT to build upon the Divvy program, using the existing Divvy station network to dock scooters and help eliminate sidewalk clutter,” said Caroline Samponaro, VP of Transit, Bike and Scooter Policy at Lyft. “Under the City’s leadership, an integrated Divvy scooter and bike-share system will immediately become one of the largest shared micromobility programs in the country, and Divvy for Everyone will also become the largest equity membership program.”
In order to manage sidewalk riding and clutter, all scooters will be equipped with cable-locking technology, as well as sidewalk-riding detection technology to help reduce riding on sidewalks. Scooters will not be allowed on the Lakefront Trail, the 606, Riverwalk, or Navy Pier. Scooters operated by Lime, Spin, and Superpedestrian will deploy citywide with 50% of scooters required in Equity Priority Areas covering many south and west side neighborhoods. To manage the introduction of scooters in the pedestrian-rich downtown area, only Divvy scooters will begin operations in the central area, and docking in Divvy stations will be incentivized. In mid-summer, the remaining scooter companies will be able to deploy scooters in the downtown area if they meet performance targets.
“This first-of-its-kind license demonstrates the business landscape is ever-changing and that the City is here to support innovation and new emerging industries,” said BACP Commissioner Kenneth J. Meyer. “The launch of the new license was a collaborative effort stemming from an evaluation of the two previous scooter pilot programs. The success of the programs led us to an inclusive and equitable mobility option for Chicago residents.”
“As Chairman of the Transportation Committee, I am committed to finding new and creative ways for Chicagoans to get around,” said Alderman Howard Brookins, 21st Ward. “I am proud to join Mayor Lightfoot as we increase mobility for residents and access to transportation citywide.”
In tandem with this launch, Divvy will be implementing a simplified pricing structure. Divvy and D4E members will continue to receive unlimited free unlocks, free rides up to 45 minutes on classic blue bikes, and significantly discounted per minute and out-of-station parking fees for e-bikes and scooters through their existing memberships. Additionally, for the next 12 months, CDOT and Lyft are adding a monthly credit of $10 to D4E member accounts to be redeemed for up to 200 ebike minutes. New pricing will take effect with the launch of Divvy scooters.
While Lime, Spin, and Superpedestrian scooter companies set their own prices, they all must provide a low-income option, cash-based payments, and easy access for those without a smartphone. The City anticipates that all scooter operations will launch their scooter services in early May.