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Divvy was world’s busiest bike-share program — for a few hours

A Divvy bike statiMichigan Avenue Wacker Drive. | File

A Divvy bike station at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive. | File

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Updated: August 25, 2013 6:41AM

After only three weeks of existence, Chicago’s bike-sharing program on Saturday afternoon became for a short time the busiest bike-sharing program in the world in terms of percentage of available bikes in use.

At its peak, 38 percent of the 710 operational bikes stationed around the city were in use Saturday afternoon, according to Elliot Greenberger, spokesman for “Divvy,” Chicago’s bike-sharing program.

The largest bike programs in the world are tracked in real time on a website by a research group based out of University College London. An administrator of the website sent out a Tweet at 3:33 p.m. Saturday about Chicago’s brief arrival at the top.

“The bike program has been around for a couple weeks, and people who’ve heard about the bikes are getting around to trying them,” Greenberger said. “It was also gorgeous weather, that doesn’t hurt, and it was a huge live music weekend in the city, that probably contributed as well.”

The glory was fleeting. It only lasted a few hours Saturday afternoon before another city edged Chicago out..

The No. 1 spot is typically held by cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Taipei and New York.

Divvy plans to install up to 40 new bike docking stations in the next week, ramping up to 300 stations and 3,000 bikes by the end of this summer.

Other Divvy stats since the program began June 28:

♦ More than 50,000 trips taken, 75 percent of which were taken by riders who chose the 24-hour pass option, at a cost of $7 for an unlimited number of 30-minute rides over that time.

♦ More than 3,000 riders have signed up for a yearly membership, which costs $75.

♦ Divvy riders have logged a collective 150,000 miles in the three-week period.

Contributing: Rosalind Rossi

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