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City Offers ‘Dollar’ Vans to Cushion Bus Cuts

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The city is launching a pilot project to allow private commuter vans to operate along some of the bus routes being eliminated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

At a Tuesday press conference in Queens, Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky said the vans will operate along three to six of the more than two dozen routes that are being cut. The new van routes will have designated stops, and will cost from $2 to $4 dollars a ride. No word yet when the new vans will start driving.

“What we are piloting here is a type of service that’s not currently available. It’s kind of a hybrid, if you will, of existing types of service and we’ll see how it works,” Yassky said.

But Mayor Bloomberg says the effort helps him fulfill a promise to outer borough New Yorkers who are absorbing more of the MTA service cuts. The Transport Workers Union says the program is a "coward's way out" of resolving the public transportation crisis. Dollar vans are operated by private entrepreneurs, not union labor.

The MTA is set to eliminate two subway lines and dozens of bus routes as of this Sunday, June 27th. The cuts will help close a budget gap of about $400 million by saving the authority about $93 million.

For more on this story visit Transportation Nation.