02 July 2014

A shadow transit system for NYC

Buses and subways and trams and streetcars make mobility in cities possible. But in many cities there is a second level of  transit lurking quietly in the background. In New Jersey and New York City, that is the dollar-vans industry. The latest New Yorker maps out this shadow transit system in an article by Adam Reiss. Do planners actively take this into account? Or do they ignore this often illegal system that frequently changes to fill the gaps in the official transit landscape?
“You hear about the vans by word of mouth,” Patrice Gibson, a thirty-year-old teaching fellow at Long Island University, said. “A friend told me, ‘Why are you taking the subway for two fifty when you can take the two-dollar van?’ But also, I’m Guyanese, and we have vans like this back in Guyana, so when I saw the van on the street I knew what it was.”

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