CHICAGO (CBS) — The Emanuel administration on Thursday sought to downplay a published report its highly-touted Divvy bike rental program was operating at a deficit taxpayers might have to make up.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman Pete Scales took issue with a Crain’s Chicago Business report indicating Divvy posted a $148,000 operating loss last year, which must be covered by the city, under its contract with the program’s operator.
“I think that was a stretch, because we are still working on closing the books on 2013 for our operating expenses for Divvy,” Scales said. “There are some outstanding expenses that we are negotiating with the supplier, and once those are resolved, we hope to be either even, break-even, or make a slight profit.”
The pending reimbursements would be for software and backup equipment the city had to buy for the program.
Scales said advertising revenue and sponsorships are helping to expand the program, and bring in more revenue.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois recently agreed to a five-year $12.5 million sponsorship of Divvy, allowing it to place the Blue Cross logo on Divvy bikes and vans. The city plans to use some of the sponsorship money to expand the network of bikes and docking stations in the city.