Commuter Van Crackdown & the Caribbean Community

A commuter van in Far Rockaway, Queens (Photo by Jason Lawrence, Creative Commons license)

The Commuter Van Safety Act, signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio on Feb. 15, cracks down on illegal commuter vans while enhancing the safety measures of those that are licensed. Caribbean Life‘s Nelson A. King goes into detail on the three measures that make up the act and the relevance of the legislation in the Caribbean community where commuter vans are frequently used.

Caribbean-American Council member Jumaane Williams cosponsored Int 0570, Int 0860 and Int 0861.

“Commuter vans are a major source for transportation in my district, and in many other communities across the City,” said Williams who represents the predominantly Caribbean 45th Council District in Brooklyn. “They fill the gap in transportation starved areas.”

“Unfortunately, commuter drivers often get painted with a broad brush, and are accused of infractions that legal drivers are not committing,” he added. “These bills are about making sure people have the legal opportunity to operate commuter vans, while also stepping up enforcement and ensuring passenger safety.

Williams said Caribbean commuter vans, also known as “dollar vans,” offer “vital, affordable transportation in communities where there are limited transit options.”

Council member I. Daneek Miller, also a co-sponsor, said that the commuter vans “have been a part of everyday life for residents of Southeast Queens” and “provide a service that the MTA does not; and because they were poorly regulated, it has created an unsafe environment for commuters and drivers alike.”

For a rundown of the legislation and a response to the safety act from a commuter van operator, go to Caribbean Life.

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