As the city looks to private operators to replace lost bus routes, the first of the Taxi & Limousine Commission’s six commuter van routes will debut on Monday with the rest to follow in a week, The Post reported today. According to Tom Namako, the first of the pilot routes will be a van that replaces the Q74 service in Queens, and it will debut on the 13th. On Monday, September 20, vans will start running along the former B23, B71, B39 and Q79 routes.
The city has yet to announce pick-up locations or frequency of service for these routes, but The Post says the vans will not operate as frequently as buses did. The vehicles themselves will hold 16-20 passengers and charge a flat fare of $2 per ride. Riders, says Namako, will be able to negotiate with the driver over drop-off locations “as long as it’s in the general direction of the van.”
Finally, as an odd ending to an ongoing saga, the TWU has dropped its plans to operate its own TLC-licensed van with unionized bus drivers. The union had recently lost its lawsuit challenging the city’s legal ability to operate this privatized program, and more than 100 laid-off bus drivers were recently rehired. The TWU did not provide me with a comment by press time, but the Daily News via Twitter reports that the union thinks the idea is “self-defeating.” We can only speculate as to why they came to this realization so close to the pilot’s launch.