Would You Have any Grey Poupon? Citi Bike to Expand Valet Service

Citi Bike's "valet service" means fewer hassles. Photo: Citi Bike
Citi Bike's "valet service" means fewer hassles. Photo: Citi Bike

Citi Bike will roll out more valet service this spring to eliminate a persistent problem with the bike-share system: nowhere to put the bikes when docks in popular locations are full.

The company will add staffers at 21 new dock sites, which will dramatically expand the number of bikes that can be stored. Nine existing valet-served stations will be retained, with the service returning today, just in time for spring.

“All in all, think of this as adding 8,000 extra docking points to the system during peak hours,” said Citi Bike spokesman Cory Epstein. “Our valets more than double the capacity at a station. As one example, at one of our stations near Penn Station, there are 15 docks, but with a valet we can hold up to 220 bikes.”

Starting today and continuing through May, the Citi Bike valets will be dispatched to areas that had not enjoyed the service, despite often overcrowding conditions that make it impossible to return a bike. Citi Bike’s dock at Jay and York streets in DUMBO is one such location. Williamsburg, the Upper West Side, the Upper East Side, the West Village and the Lower East Side will also be getting valets (see full list below).

The move will likely be greeted warmly by people who have been frustrated to arrive at a Citi Bike dock only to find nowhere to lock the bike. Daily News reporter Marianne Garvey famously wrote about just such a catastrophe in 2014. As this story went to press, many docks in Soho, the Lower East Side, Williamsburg, Midtown East and the Garment District were full.

Here’s the full list of Citi Bike valet stations and the expected rollout dates (new service is in bold):

March 19:

  • East 48th St. at Fifth Ave.
  • Eighth Ave. at West 33rd St.
  • St. Marks Pl. at First Ave.
  • Christopher and Greenwich sts.
  • East 55th St. at Third Ave.
  • West 52nd St. at Fifth Ave Corral
  • East Second Street at Ave. B
  • West St. at Chambers St.

By the beginning of April:

  • West 72nd St. at Columbus Ave.
  • East 68th St. at First Ave.
  • West 44th St. at Fifth Ave.
  • West 43rd St. at Sixth Ave.
  • West 27th St. at 11th Ave.
  • East 14th Street at University Pl.
  • Allen and Staton sts.
  • West 40th Street at 12th Ave.
  • East 24th St. and Park Ave Corral
  • East 16th St. at First Ave.

By mid-April:

  • North Eighth and Berry sts.
  • Canal and Rutgers sts.
By the start of May:
  • Greenwich and West Houston sts.
  • Greenwich and Murray sts.
  • South St. at Gouverneur Ln.
  • West Broadway at Spring St.
  • Jay and York sts.
  • DeKalb Ave. near Flatbush Ave. Extension
  • West 18th St. at Sixth Ave.
  • East Seventh St. at Ave. A

Those join 10 valet-serviced docking stations that are in operation year-round:

  • Central Park South at Fifth Ave. (Grand Army Plaza)
  • West 31st St. at Eighth Ave.
  • West 40th St. at 12th Ave.
  • West 42nd St. at Dyer Ave.
  • East 47th St. at Park Ave.
  • West 52nd St. at Sixth Ave.
  • East 22nd St. at Broadway
  • East 20th St. at the FDR Drive
  • East 10th St. at Ave. A
  • Broadway at Battery Pl.
  • North Moore and Greenwich sts.

Check the Citi Bike website to confirm that the valet service has been set up by clicking here.

Side note: For those of you who don’t get the reference to the joy of the valet lifestyle evoked in our headline, enjoy this brief video below:

  • Joe R.

    If the same person who is the valet also swaps batteries on the e-bikes at least this makes a little sense. Kill two birds with one stone. Don’t know though if that’s what they’re planning to do.

  • walks bikes drives

    Not me, I remember that commercial like it was 20 years ago.

    While the valet should be able to swap batteries, the main battery crew would need to be mobile. But they should add a section to the bike angel program of bringing an ebike with a dead battery to a valet station for a battery swap.

  • hshiau

    unlikely any Bike Angel will do that if they have to pay the $2 surcharge. they would need to have a program where a Bike Angel that accumulates x number of points the previous month does not have to pay the surcharge. otherwise, electric bikes will never be balanced

  • walks bikes drives

    Yeah, they will have to figure that one out…

  • Reggie

    This messes with riders’ opportunities to earn Bike Angel points. Just sayin’.

  • Make even more sense if the 20 busiest stations in the system were hooked up to charge e-bikes

  • Hot_Soup

    Even as a mildly eager Bike Angel, I am so grateful for this. At the end of the day, this is my main way of getting around once I’ve ridden the PATH in from JC. Used to work near Pier 11, where a valet is going in, and is so desperately needed. In the summer, no amount of Angels could keep the system balanced as every dock for half a mile would fill up.

    If anything, I’d kind of been resentful that CB seemed to prefer gamifying rebalancing to actually hiring more unionized workers to handle the demands of the system. Hopefully this is a sign of increasingly responsive management under Lyft.


Taking Citi Bike for a Test Ride

With Citi Bike set to launch later this spring, the long wait for bike-share in New York City is almost over. But I couldn’t bring myself to wait an instant longer, so recently I headed over to the Brooklyn Navy Yard to try out some Citi Bikes. A small network of bike-share stations has been […]