With the Ventra fiasco giving the Chicago Transit Authority a hernia as of late, and the cold weather making it extremely difficult to dig our cars out from the snowy streets, we thought it would be beneficial to share some travel innovations that are picking up speed in the windy city.
Of course there’s one thing that you can always fall back on: taking a good ‘ol cab. Hundreds of these guys trolling the streets of any given Chicago neighborhood- but you never really know what you’re in for when you stick your hand out for a ride.
On-Demand Ride Sharing with Uber and Lyft
These two smartphone applications connect users with a nearby driver at the touch of a button. Drivers are background checked and personality screened to ensure a safe and friendly ride for patrons–even their cars must pass a safety and comfortability screening before being sent into the field.
It’s cashless and donation-based, with rates starting at only $6 for a ride. After connecting a credit or debit card with your account, the application does everything for you after only a few selections. All you need to to is request a pickup at your desired location, and the app will scan the area for the closest drivers, and send one your way.
Lyft notifies you when the driver is on his or her way, sending photos of the driver and car so you know exactly what to expect. Change your mind? No problem, cancel the Lyft with no repercussions.
Uber has an additional feature where users can select the type of vehicle that they will be in need of: basic taxi/ black car/ SUV/ Limo, etc.
Gaining popularity across the United States, services like Uber and Lyft are most commonly utilized in highly populated urban areas, like the city of Chicago. Sometimes the drivers even provide refreshments and snacks for their riders–probably in hopes of coaxing out a higher donation–but hey, that’s ok, everyone’s happy with a sucker in their mouth, right?
Divvy Bike Rentals
Divvy is a Chicago-based bike sharing system that allows users to rent bikes from various stations around the city. Featuring thousands of bikes at hundreds of stations from Andersonville to Hyde Park- Divvy is available 24/7, 365 days a year. Every station has a touchscreen kiosk, station map, and a docking system that releases bikes using a member key or ride code.
Annual memberships can be purchased online at Divvy’s website, or 24-hour passes can be printed from any Divvy station- but only annual members will receive a unique Divvy key. Annual memberships are usually $75 for the whole year, but right now annual memberships are on sale for $65.
You’ll get unlimited 30-minute trips for the duration of your membership or temporary pass. Run an errand, grab a bite, commute to work or school… simply ride back to any Divvy station and return the bike once you’ve reached your destination.
Divvy crews are constantly monitoring the stations to ensure that they are neither full nor empty. Having just started in 2013, Divvy is already the 2nd largest bike sharing system in the United States.
According to the website, the word “Divvy” means “to divide and share.” This new bike system aims to connect us all and help to build a stronger local community.
Of course, some minor biking knowledge is required to use the system. Don’t forget your helmet, leave the headphones off, and pay attention to your surroundings…. otherwise you might end up notoriously riding down the Lake Shore Drive Expressway, just like this chick: