The Future of Mobility

3 thoughts on “The Future of Mobility”

  1. New York City has long had a ban on jitneys, small independently operated shuttle buses. Even back in the 1970s there were constant stories about the city cracking down on them. They were usually associated with poorer neighborhoods, but I came across an article on a crackdown on jitneys in Riverdale, a rather upmarket section of the Bronx. In the 1990s, they were around in force, but I gather there was another major crackdown under Giuliani.

    Amusingly, there was also an article on San Francisco and its jitney system with 117 licenses back in 1971. Are they still operating? Is Uber or Google going to buy them?

    The usual argument against them involved liability and crowded roads.

    1. When official taxis are required to purchase a medallion (special license) from the city in order to operate – particularly when that medallion is incredibly expensive – then jitneys are a threat to the established order of things. Airport shuttles are the equivalent of specialized jitneys that also pay for licenses and fees. Uber and Lyft have disrupted that model and cities are playing catch up. The folks who paid for (now useless) medallions are really pissed off. They have a point. The city administrators who oversee the medallion system are also looking for ways to preserve their fiefdoms. Eventually all the conflicting systems and practices will merge somehow.

      There are also limitations to van pool systems like the one in Utah. They are organized exclusively by employers and other institutions. They get people to and from work. They don’t take people to the grocery store or to visit mom in the next town over. They treat the symptoms of auto dependence, but they don’t cure the disease.

  2. Yeah, we could build a lot more places like San Francisco. Near my suburban area there’s a walkable area developing of basically giant apartment buildings with some street retail along a very busy and wide stroad. It’s somewhat walkable and will probably at least score pretty well in the near future. But it’s not nice like SF is. Buildings are designed to be seen from a fast-moving car several lanes away, not by a pedestrian walking right by, and of course high-speed traffic is never pleasant. It’s livable, but not “ahh…” like SF can be.

    Some places off the stroads avoid the traffic, but they’re still not “ahh…”

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