From the NY Times:
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced a yearlong pilot program Tuesday that will allow commuter vans to pick up passengers in parts of Brooklyn and Queens with limited access to public transportation or where bus service cuts will take effect next week.
To commuters, there are advantages and disadvantages. The vans will provide them with a means of reaching transportation hubs or other parts of the borough. But because the vans are privately operated, passengers who are connecting to a subway or bus will have to pay $2 to ride the vans as well as public transportation fare, which is $2.25 for a single trip.
“The issue here is not whether it’s more expensive or less expensive; it’s whether the service exists or not,” Mr. Bloomberg said at a news conference near Queens College in Flushing, by a stop for the Q74 bus, one of the lines that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will eliminate on Sunday.
The pilot program will establish three to six new commuter van routes in Brooklyn and Queens. The routes will be determined in the coming weeks, said David Yassky, the city’s taxi and limousine commissioner. It is scheduled to last a year, but it could be expanded depending on the results, he said.
Mr. Yassky said that enforcement would be a key to the pilot program, as well as to all of the industry, which carries an estimated 15,000 passengers daily from outlying areas of Queens and Brooklyn to transportation hubs, the financial center of Manhattan, a mall in Nassau County and other locations.
Last week, during a few hours in central and southern Brooklyn, taxi inspectors and officers from four police precincts seized 35 illegal vans and issued 73 summonses to unregulated drivers. Similar operations are planned with more frequency than in the past, Mr. Yassky said.
If there's such a big problem already documented, is it wise to introduce this program before the problem is resolved?