September 15, 2012

Shared-Ride: New York's Dollar Vans

NEW YORK - The Dollar Van is a type of shard-ride jitney operating primarily in the New York City Boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. They began as a citizen response to a transit strike during the 1980's. Privately owned and operated, Dollar Vans follow routes along main thoughfares, stopping at designated points, but often will pick-up rides that have hailed them from the street (which is illegal). They charge less than the public transit fare, often run more frequently than transit, and have in recent years expanded to serve routes that the MTA has abandoned or are poorly serviced. The vehicles are usually standard 14 seat vans without any distinctive exterior paint or signage. According to an article in The Atlantic: The (Illegal) Private Bus System That Works, New York's Dollar Van industry if taken all together would amount to the size of the 20th largest bus service in the United States. There are an estimated 350 licensed and 500 licensed vehicles in operation. The Wall Sreet Journal in the article: Illegal, but Very Popular, estimates that from 100,000 to 120,000 riders a day use Dollar Vans in Queens and Brooklyn. The local success of the Dollar Van has prompted others elsewhere to consider adopting the concept (see: New York's Dollar Vans: Could They Work Here? - Portland, Ore.).



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