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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Bike valet: a whole lot cooler than it sounds

Hey, high roller — got 50 cents? Then you’ve got valet service for your bike.

This coming Tuesday, UA Parking and Transportation Services will debut the highly anticipated and terrifically curious Bike Valet Program.

“”Why?”” is the biggest question in many minds. At first glance, this seems like nothing more than another way for the university to take your money, a business in which it is growing increasingly efficient. So you can understand my skepticism when the concept of valet is applied to something as low-maintenance as a bicycle. The words “”valet”” and “”bicycle”” are hard-pressed to even get along in a sentence, let alone in real life.   

So how exactly does it work?

The Parking and Transportation website offers 12 guidelines and rules of the program, which looks much more foreboding on the website than it really is. In essence, you need to do two things: register your bike with PTS and purchase a $10 punch card, which will give you 20 valet trips — basically, 50 cents per day.

Sounds simple enough, but is it practical and will people actually use it?  

This is where I politely interject. If at first impression the bike valet seems a little unnecessary, take a look deeper.

Although no cash is accepted at the station, a quick purchase at the Parking and Transportation Office will set you up with 20 trips through the system, and even better, don’t worry about tipping; the guys running around to get your bike won’t accept it anyway. A permanent PTS officer will be maneuvering the bikes around and keeping a watchful eye over your mode of transportation, and that alone is worth your 50 cents a day. The valet enclosure will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and all bikes must be reclaimed by 5:45 p.m. However, if necessary, it only costs you an additional 50 cents to leave your bike overnight. Not bad, eh?

Bill Davidson, Parking and Transportation Services marketing manager, stressed that the bike valet is not a means to make money but simply to break even by paying for the valet employees and the new bike racks.  

“”Traditionally, there has been a concern about bike theft on campus, and this valet creates a solution with a safe and secure place to park bikes, an extra level of security.””

Warming to the idea of a bike valet, I asked Davidson where he had gotten the idea or found precedent for such a system. It seems that some major sporting venues around the U.S. have already implemented successful bike valet services. The San Francisco Giants have a great bike valet system at AT&T Park, as do the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. However, Davidson believes that in terms of universities, Arizona may be one of the first in the country to implement such a service.

Davidson said he is excited and anxious to get the service started Tuesday. And after talking with him, I completely agree.

What at first seems a waste of time and money is actually cheap, secure and, simply put, brilliant. It creates student jobs — currently five part-time employees — and works to cover only operating costs while providing a safe, secure and quite honestly cool bike service.

So next week, when you roll onto campus on your sweet new bike, consider valet. As a student that has had two bikes stolen, all of a sudden I want a bike again. 

 

— Brett Haupt is a journalism junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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