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As bus cuts loom, city pushes taxis and vans

Some bus riders may soon get to know the dollar van and yellow cab better.

With service changes to 113 bus lines beginning Sunday, the city will be setting up a group taxi stand on the Upper East Side and private vans in the outer boroughs that will run along routes being axed. The city Taxi & Limousine Commission will test these ideas on up to seven routes in the coming weeks, officials said yesterday.

“There may be some kinks in it, but if we find the pilot succeeds, we will expand it to other parts of the city,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Taxi riders will be able to share cabs at a stand on York Avenue and East 70th Street, where the X90 bus will no longer run to the Financial District. Separately, the TLC set up three group ride locations earlier this year, but the Manhattan spots have been slow to catch on so far.

“I’m very optimistic this will be of use for the effected commuters,” TLC Commissioner David Yassky said of the new ride-share stand.

As for the passenger vans, the TLC is still figuring out the routes they will service. The vans will seat 20 people and cost around $2 a ride (as opposed to the $2.25 full bus fare). They will make stops along the bus routes, but commuters also won’t benefit from MetroCard transfers or wheelchair lifts.

An MTA spokesman said the agency supports the van service in areas where “the demand and funding is insufficient” for public buses.

Transit union officials, meanwhile, said they feel it’s an underhanded move.

“(Dollar Vans) are a backdoor way to cut bus service,” said John Samuelsen, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 100.


4-1-1 on the York Avenue Taxi Stand
When: Starts July 15 and runs weekdays between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Route: Begins at East 70th Street and makes stops in the Financial District only - along Pearl, Water and West streets.
Cost: $6 a person

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