My colleagues Elliott Sclar and Buz Paaswell have an editorial in today's NY Times about the problems with group ride vans* replacing eliminated MTA bus routes. There are many issues involved, but this shift amounts to privatizing public transit.
I'm working on a project evaluating how these vans are serving their service areas, and the early indications are that almost no one is riding them. The program has only been operating a couple of weeks, however.
*The official term for the vans is Group Ride Vans, but there are lots of informal operators known as dollar vans.