Apparently, Chicago's Divvy is really popular with tourists—and tourists have trouble returning the bikes on time:
Chicago's Divvy bicycle-sharing program took in up to $2.5 million during its first five months, a figure driven by tourists and others who bought daily passes and racked up the majority of overtime fees, according to a trove of preliminary customer data provided by city transportation officials.
As much as $703,500 came from late charges, which kick in when bicycles aren't returned within 30 minutes. Just a sliver of that money was generated from Divvy's clock-conscious annual members, who checked out bikes for short trips instead of hopping into taxis or riding public transit, city officials concluded.
It's not clear whether the Divvy public-private partnership, supported by $25 million in federal funding and $6.25 million in local matches, is turning a profit.
The article goes on to suggest that tourists have trouble understanding the point of the 30-minute time limit. It's not to prevent you from riding Divvy bikes; it's to keep Divvy bikes moving. If the program didn't have a 30-minute window, people would ride to their destinations, park the bikes, and ride back, possibly tying up a bike all day.
So the problem seems to be user education.
Still, I'm glad the program is making revenue. I really hope it's profitable.