21 May 2008

Jitneys, Dying or Filling a Transit Void?

From the Miami Herald. My take is that they could make sense in sprawling areas for people who do not have cars, however, they are not car competitive, because the ride is so unpleasant. Also, since they run on gasoline, their prices may soon be rising:

The jitney, the common name for a shared taxi, is appealing to some for several reasons. Unlike the bus, which has a fixed schedule, jitneys zoom by seemingly every five minutes. They have routes throughout the county, will make stops anytime you ask, and only cost $1 -- a third cheaper than Metrobus.

And thanks to their size -- slightly bigger than a van but smaller and quicker than the bus -- jitneys can slip in and out of traffic, slicing the commute.
Miami Metro Bus is one of 13 carriers certified to run jitney service in the county.
The term ''jitney'' came into the vernacular in the early part of the 20th century. The word was commonly used as the name for a five-cent piece -- the cost to catch a ride on the vehicle that was bigger than a taxi but smaller than a full-sized bus...

...The system has been regulated by the county since the 1980s. Jitneys are only allowed on certain streets, the vehicles are regularly inspected and drivers must obtain a chauffeur registration and pass background checks.

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