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Do Private Transport Services Complement or Compete against Public Transit? Evidence from the Commuter Vans in Eastern Queens, New York

1
School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA
2
School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Urban Sci. 2019, 3(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci3010024
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2019 / Accepted: 13 February 2019 / Published: 22 February 2019
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Abstract

Do private transport services complement or compete against public transit? As transit agencies scramble to adjust to the new transport landscape of mobility services, this has become an important question. This study focuses on New York’s commuter vans (also known as “dollar vans”), private vans that have operated alongside public transit for decades. We use original survey and observational data collected in the summer of 2016 to document basic ridership characteristics and to provide insight into whether the commuter vans complement or compete against city buses. Commuter van ridership in Eastern Queens is high; it is roughly equivalent to city bus ridership on parallel routes at approximately 55,000 per day. Further, more than 60% of van riders surveyed would have had a free trip on a city bus, through either a transit pass or transfer. Time savings was an important motivation for these riders to pay extra for the vans; the vans are faster than city buses, and van wait times are shorter. These results suggest that New York’s commuter vans complement public transit by serving as a feeder system. This conclusion, however, is highly context-dependent. As private transport services proliferate, continued research is needed to ascertain their relationships with public transit. View Full-Text
Keywords: paratransit; dollar vans; jitneys; informal transport; New York City; microtransit; ride hailing paratransit; dollar vans; jitneys; informal transport; New York City; microtransit; ride hailing
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Musili, C.; Salon, D. Do Private Transport Services Complement or Compete against Public Transit? Evidence from the Commuter Vans in Eastern Queens, New York. Urban Sci. 2019, 3, 24.

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