One of the chief gripes heard from Citi Bikers is that the docks have a knack for filling up, a phenomenon called "dock blocking" that seems to occur chiefly when users are already seven to 12 minutes late for their obligations.
Citi Bike, in response, has begun piloting a weeknight valet service on Avenue A and 7th Street, with "at least two employees" on hand to reshuffle bikes between 7 and 11 p.m., am New York reports. Workers will use large tricycles to relocate up to four Citi Bikes at a time, the idea being that the trikes can more easily maneuver in traffic than the rebalancing trucks typically relied upon to move the bikes. "The valet bike parking is something I think provides a sense of reassurance," Citi Bike spokeswoman Dani Simons told the paper.
The pilot will last through Labor Day, though Simons said Citi Bike will expand the free service to other neighborhoods if it proves successful. Still, with reports that Citi Bike has been forced to lay off workers, is failing to maintain bikes and docks and is currently short around $10 million, a valet seems like a temporary—and pricey—fix to a more systemic problem.
Perhaps Citi Bike should think about charging extra for what ultimately amounts to a luxury service. This is, after all, New York—people in this city eat lobster rolls garnished with gold flakes. We have an ATM that spits out gold bars! $1 million homes sell in Bushwick! What would you pay for the ironclad promise that you'll never have to miss a second of your Daddy 'N Me Bespoke Onesie Sewing Workshop? What wouldn't you pay.