Mayor Rahm Emanuel walks his Divvy bike back after a brief ride at the annual… (Antonio Perez, Chicago…)
As the Divvy bike-share program experiences record ridership numbers, the city is testing a valet service at crowded hot spots.
This service was deployed Memorial Day weekend from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at three popular Divvy locations: Theater on the Lake at Fullerton Avenue, Michigan Avenue and Oak Street, and Illinois Street by the lakefront, Divvy spokesman Elliot Greenberger said. The city is looking at adding valet service at Lake Shore Drive and North Avenue in the future.
How it works: A Divvy valet stands at the those stations, and if the station becomes full, the valet removes bikes and sets them up in a line to the side of the station to make space for more bikes to be docked, Greenberger said.
When the line of bikes starts to accumulate, the valet alerts dispatch to send a Divvy van to pick up the extra bikes.
"We noticed in previous weekends [those stations] were filling up and we couldn't get to them quickly enough," Greenberger said in an e-mail. "And [the pilot] worked well in terms of ensuring available docks for riders arriving at those destinations."
Greenberger said there are currently pilots of valet service at downtown locations during morning and evening rush hours. Valet service is being tested 7 to 10 a.m. at Daley Center Plaza and Dearborn and Adams streets; and 4 to 7 p.m. at Canal and Madison streets and Canal and Adams streets.
On Sunday, Divvy logged 16,258 rides, a new record. The prior single-day record, set earlier this month, was 12,796 rides. There were 12,863 Divvy rides on Saturday and 12,840 rides on Monday, Greenberger said. Divvy began in June 2013.
Valet service was first used last summer during Lollapalooza and the Air and Water Show, but valets were called "ambassadors" then. It is branded as "Divvy valet service" this year, Greenberger said.
"We know that the worst experience someone can have is coming to a full station and missing their train or being late for work, so we responded with this initiative," Greenberger said.