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.
The Q at Parkside
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.