Illegal NYC Commuter Vans Could Become Legitimate

Private transit in the form of livery vans are now sanctioned as part of a year long pilot pushed by Mayor Bloomberg that will compete with public bus and taxi for areas not well-served by the city's extensive, but hard-hit transit network.

Opposed by organized labor but supported by the entrepreneur commuter van drivers and most importantly, the Mayor himself, the pilot program could spread to other routes used by many riders in a rush to get to subway stops and other destinations.

"The announcement signals that the Bloomberg administration is open to reviewing the van industry's tight regulations, which the City Council passed in 1994 under pressure by bus drivers, who see the vans as a potential threat to their jobs.

The pilot program will establish three to six new commuter van routes in Brooklyn and Queens. The routes will be determined in the coming weeks, said David Yassky, the city's taxi and limousine commissioner."

Thanks to Streetsblog New York City

Full Story: Yearlong Effort Will Add Vans to Transit Options



Irvin Dawid's picture

For a closer look at livery van business...(and photo)

or, as the Brooklyn Ink reporter would call it, "the transient world of cash transactions, street-side pickups, and blurry licensing laws, where getting ahead often means breaking the rules", see DOLLAR VAN PIONEER COPES WITH UNLAWFUL COMPETITION
Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

Probably the best way to expand public transit

I'm glad at least one city is America is finally getting on board with something that works well in may places throughout the globe. This has to be the easiest way in the world to increase public transit use in large cities (i.e. stop making it a monopoly owned by the government-employee unions - look who is against this in the article - bus drivers).

The one issue I can see, that the article mentions, is the necessary licensing and insurance requirements. Despite my usually non-buearacratic bent, this side of the equation will need to be strictly enforced to make sure all the competition is on a level playing field as transporting people by vehicle does pose some serious risks should an accident occur... something along the lines of anyone that would like an operator's license should be able to get one once they prove that they meet the necessary requirements (i.e. proper driver's license, insurance for type of vehicle, safety inspections) and then have to submit to annual (or every other year) saftey inspections... this is all of course assuming the licensing fees and inspections are not onerous to the point of extortion or rigged by ridiculous rules that stifle expansion of service. Over time, the better, and safer operators will emerge as favorites of riders given their excellent reputations.

I saw something like this when I went to Shanghai to visit a friend of mine who lived there. The taxi cabs were all different colors (red, green, blue, etc.) and some were more expensive than others. In talking with my friend, it turned out that the companies with newer cars, better drivers, and better reputations were able to charge more given their record (usually this meant a much newer automobile as all the drivers were typical taxi cab drivers in style).

Irvin Dawid's picture

Daily News Pins Hopes on Private Transit in wake of MTA cuts

Bring on the vans: After MTA cuts, city must make fullest possible use of jitneys, July 6: "Vans - both legal and illegal - transport an estimated 15,000 passengers a day citywide. Their biggest selling points are availability and convenience.

They often show up when Metropolitan Transportation Authority buses are nowhere in sight, and they go places buses don't."

Thanks to Streetsblog's Headlines for pointing to this interesting article that 'could be part of NYC's future'?

Read more:
Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

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