The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Dollar Vans To Install Metro Card Readers

In a surprise move destined to lead to an increase in the use of so-called "Dollar Vans," the Taxi and Limousine Commission this morning released new plans to install 20 Metro Card readers in a "test" fleet of Dollar Vans along Flatbush Avenue's B41 line. To date, the typically all-cash business has been plagued by a reputation for poor driving and illegitimacy. While the Q himself has been known to use Dollar Vans on occasion, he's also a known thrill-seeker who will admit that the high speeds and thumping bass are part of the overall experience he enjoys, and that he's learned a great deal about Gospel and Island musics this way. I do not, will not, and cannot condone the taking of small children onto Dollar Vans however, and to that woman who brought open Chinese food onto a Dollar Van the other day the only thing I can say is...really?

The new i-Pad reading Metro Card swiper technology, which will be controlled through an antennae linked directly to MTA's servers and will not be owned or operated directly by the driver himself but rather money will be payed to the driver in the form of an old-fashioned check within a week from the ride, has actually been available for sometime, and a version of it is used in nations from India to the twin 'Guays of Uruguay and Paraguay. That it has come to NYC in the last half of the last year of Mayor Bloomberg's term should come as no surprise. Bloomberg famously claimed to want to take the best of the world's transportation innovations and bring them on home. Mayor Bloomberg did not answer my direct email asking for comment as to whether he has actually ever ridden a Dollar Van and whether in fact he's ever seen the ad on the side of some Dollar Vans asking "does he really have his Daddy's eyes?"

T&LC Commissioner David Yassky (boy that guy landed in a cushy appointment after losing an election didn't he?) was sanguine about the system's chances for reigning in some of the past excesses that have led to the Dollar Vans sometimes poor reputations. "By allowing passengers the option of paying for Dollar Vans with their MTA transit cards, we're saying to the drivers - we see you, we trust you, but we expect you to conduct yourself with a certain level of dignity and self-restraint." Many local pedestrians and bikers have reached out to the Q to complain in the past year about the DVs and what can be done to mitigate their deliriously destructive effect on the overall traffic situation on our beloved Flabenue. This Spring, the MTA releases its long awaited study of the Flatbush corridor traffic study. Challah Lou Ya to that!

Perhaps along with the new MetroCard readers there will be a way to better distinguish legitimate Dollar Vans from the renegade versions. The good drivers must be rewarded, and the most reckless denied access to the roads. We need no more reminders, in the form of injuries or fatalities, of how dangerous are the stretches of Flatbush, Parkside, Rogers, Empire, Church, Ocean etc. near our beloved Q.

Oh, I almost forgot the price. While cash rides will continue to undercut the MTA ($2) the MetroCard reader will charge you the same as a bus or subway ride, but there is a catch - you may not use your unlimited, as this would be too easy a path to fraud.
 


20 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea. The vans that take the metrocards should have an indicator on them so you know which ones are legit. Its the unlicensed vans that cause the problems and make it hard for the registered ones to make a living. I applaud this effort, even though I'm glad Yassky lost his election!

Anonymous said...

I would also suggest to install Metro Card purchase machines in selected vans. This will speed up the commute when the vans just drops you off at the subway/bus station.

Anonymous said...

Will it support transfer (xfer) between vans and subway/bus? or between vans?

The Snob said...

What an incredible day for the neighborhood! I also just heard that Peppa's now delivers ;)

Anonymous said...

HA! April Fools.

-shelley

Anonymous said...

Maybe I haven't taken enough dollar vans to know but the few times I rode in them, including once after Sandy when every bus was full and my son and I were trying in vain to get to Park Slope and the dollar vans were the only option, they drove just fine. I think the good drivers blend into the hundreds of vehicles on the road and we don't notice them. We only notice the bad drivers. So let's not stereotype all dollar van drivers because 1 in 10 drive like maniacs. You know who the true maniacs are and I feel confident in saying 99% of them can be described that way - the vans that pick up people in wheelchairs or seniors going to doctor appointments, oh what are they called. Those drivers are a total menace.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, April Fools.

Bob Marvin said...

The other part of this legislation is that their will be a governor installed, limiting top speed to 30 mph, a scanner that will not allow the engine to start unless the driver inserts a valid license, and a muffler on the van's horn.

theoldspeakjournal said...

This is great.... For the MTA (a private corporation that has a near monopoly on public transportation and price gouges us all unrepentantly). This is the latest chapter of a long history of corporate consolidation. PPBBBTHT to this.

AHAHAHAHA! Good one Bob Marvin!

theoldspeakjournal said...

Do the drivers get the money from Metro Card transactions or does MTA? (I'm assuming MTA gets it, or a majority of it.) It basically amounts to a 50 cent price increase for folk that the vans to save that money, And a loss of revenue for independent van operators.

I generally avoid dollar vans like the plague, so I don't have dog in this race. But I don't like seeing big business making money at the expense of small businesses.

Anonymous said...

really basic question: where do these vans go? whats the route? i see them all the time and yet have no idea what purpose they serve.

MattOnLincoln said...

Hailocab blog says that the draft resolution from deputy commissioner Chhabra's staff had required participating vans to honk only three times at each bus stop. Woulda been interesting to see enforcement efforts if that had stuck.

Loved loved the memorable presentation of the "news." And how you tucked in a reminder of grim reality, too.

Jeremy Zilar said...

I hate April 1.

Anonymous said...

Lol @bob Marvin

Jeremy Zilar said...

This could be you next year Mr. Q.

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2013/04/florida-djs-april-fools-water-joke/63798/

Clarkson FlatBed said...

That's why I never joke about chemicals Jay Z. But I'm so relieved by the recent update on that link you posted:

Update, Wednesday: St. John and Fish were back on the air Wednesday, and officials with the local health department tell The Atlantic Wire that felony charges are not expected.

I'm glad to hear that stating the a simple truth, albeit in periodic table chemical language (that water is coming out of your faucet) in a radio broadcast, even a sophomoric shock jock local commuter show, is not an actual felony. It may have shown poor judgment, but if poor judgment were a felony, I believe the entire state of Montana would have to be made a maximum security prison.

theoldspeakjournal said...

LOL you got me good CFB!

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