Citi Bike is taking a page from restaurants and hotels by testing a valet service at a dock where people can avoid the frustration of trying to find a place to park their ride.
The weeknight valet service, which will launch at a dock on Avenue A and 7th Street on Monday, will be manned with at least two employees who will remove bikes once the dock fills up so that a couple of spaces will be always be available from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
"On weekday evenings, the stations there definitely tend to fill up very quickly," said Citi Bike spokeswoman Dani Simons. "It's a very popular neighborhood for people."
The valet will have a special debut from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday at two stations, Pearl St. and Hanover Square in Manhattan; and Henry and Poplar streets in Brooklyn.
The valet program will last through Labor Day, though riders will have to try their luck finding a dock with space on weekends and major holidays, as well as during extreme weather events and heavy rain.
To free up spaces elsewhere in the East Village, large tricycles that can carry up to four Citi Bikes at a time will be used to speed up rebalancing at docks, instead of relying on trucks that move slowly through traffic.
Simons said Citi Bike had been quietly testing their plan out in other East Village docks before landing on the Avenue A and 7th Street location. If the pilot is successful, Citi Bike will look to expand the service into other neighborhoods that need extra spots, according to Simons.
"The valet bike parking is something I think provides a sense of reassurance," she said, for people to "find bike parking during our peak season, during peak hours in this neighborhood with peak demand for bike share."