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Chicago bike-share program off to strong start, officials say

Divvy bikes ClintWashingtearlier this month. Sun-Times File Phob TinSfondeles

Divvy bikes at Clinton and Washington earlier this month. Sun-Times File Photo b Tina Sfondeles

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Updated: August 14, 2013 6:10AM

With more stations and more bikes on the way, bicyclists have taken more than 25,000 trips on the new Divvy bike-share system in its first two weeks of operation in Chicago, city officials said Friday.

From Day 1 — which fell on the day of the rally for the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup championship — through Thursday night, 25,518 rides had been recorded, according to city Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein, who said he’s “thrilled” with the results.

“Honestly, it’s better than I thought it would be because we only had 700 bikes out on the street,” Klein said. “We took a different approach, where we wanted to ramp it up, instead of putting all of the bikes out there at once.”

The city took some heat for the locations of its initial stations — with none on the South Side or the West Side. Divvy plans to add 230 stations and 2,300 bikes across the city by the end of summer. Next year, an additional 1,000 bikes will be added.

For now, the southernmost location a rider could get a Divvy bike is at McCormick Place. The westernmost station is in Bucktown.

“We’re really focused on sub-30 minute trips, basically a bike taxi,” Klein said. “You’re going to see them block by block, and that makes sense to start in the central core and then work our way out.”

Divvy and the city department plan to release the locations of its next 75 stations early next week.

Department spokesman Pete Scales said crews will begin the new installations next week, adding six to eight stations a day, until they reach the 300 total locations by the end of summer.

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