Private Public Transit

This little gem caught my eye from Reason Magazine:

Hector Ricketts wants to offer New York City residents an alternative to New York’s slow and clumsy public transportation. He employs drivers who offer commuters rides in minivans. The vans serve mostly low-income neighborhoods and typically charge $2 a head. People like the vans. They’re more convenient than unionized government-run public transit—and cheaper, too. The subways and buses charge $2.25.

So the city’s public transit union used its political connections to regulate the vans to death: The politicians have decreed that vans may not drive routes used by city buses or provide service to a passenger unless it is prearranged by phone; and the vans must keep a passenger manifest on board and enter the name of everyone to be picked up.

That’s actually a pretty interesting thought, if it were allowed to work. Wouldn’t Indy benefit from such a startup? I saw a Facebook post recently of someone who, maybe jokingly, suggested IndyGo downgrade to vans and they’d still be half-full.

Have people drive around small vans, pickup people for about the same cost and get where you’re going faster, easier and dare I say better? Might even lower the cost of taxi-fare in the city, too. What a concept.

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