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Unoficial Transportation Systems in New York City
Since 1994, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission has been issuing permits to dollar vans. There are 481 licensed dollar vans in the city, although there are many, many more estimated to be operating. Dollar vans largely exist in "peripheral, low-income neighborhoods that contain large immigrant communities and lack robust public transit." They are becoming so popular in Queens that they're starting to function like an "unofficial transportation system." Dollar vans can be particularly attractive to non-English speaking immigrants as they're often operated and ridden by members of particular ethnic communities. A ride on a Chinatown van, on the other hand, is a relatively familiar experience for a Chinese immigrant. This first Future Urban Transportation Meetup will focus on the impact and evolution of this flexible and highly efficient low-cost shared transportation systems.

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    What we're about

    Public transit has the potential to be awesome, moving us around our city quickly and easily. But sometimes it really sucks. Buses are never on time, routes can be unfamiliar, and connections are difficult. On the other hand, taxis are too expensive, hard to find and there is no easy way to share a ride with other users.

    The latest evolutions in transportation provide enough data to plan and develop new mobile apps, where no operative intervention of dispatchers (or other external agents) is required. Local companies such as Uber, Lyft or Sidecar (among other ride and car sharing, and taxi apps -Hailo, TaxiMagic, Flywheel, Blablacar, MyTaxi) are opening a window into a new relationship between cars and passengers, bringing a closer and more immediate response to a much more personalized transportation.

    Let's work together to shape the future of urban mobility and use data/technology/design to make it real.

    I'd like to build a community of transit nerds, developers and designers to contribute to the future of urban transportation and take it new directions so it can serve more riders in new and unexpected ways. I can't do it alone, so together let's drag public transit, paratransit and taxicab into the 21st century.

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