There are interesting things going on in Pittsburgh, as elsewhere.
Realizing jitneys fill a transit gap, government agencies around the country have tried to regulate them but almost always fail. Jitneys service specific markets so when government agencies begin treating them like regular transportation providers -- requiring them to service designated routes, obtain licences and so on -- ridership decreases and so does interest by drivers.
Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Miami have all tried over the past few decades to create regulated jitney markets and failed, according to research by Columbia University's David King. He said Miami has had the most success largely by licensing its private van operators but then leaving them alone.
Cities are wrestling with regulating a new wave of Web services -- such as Uber.com -- that coordinate shared rides over social media, while also studying how to rein in some old-fashioned jitneys and buses. In the greater New York area, calls have increased this summer for regulation of illicit "dollar bus" services after one struck and killed an infant July 30 in northern New Jersey.
"Taken together, what we have is a tremendous interest in what is a very old but very newly visible type of transit. The regulatory environment is unclear," said Mr. King, an assistant professor of urban planning.
"The regulatory calls you're hearing now are the same regulatory calls we've been hearing for a hundred years."
Sunday, September 8, 2013
About Pittsburgh's Jitneys
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a nice story about Pittsburgh's jitneys in which my research with Eric Goldwyn (with assists from Annalisa Liberman and Cuthbert Onikute) is cited. I am quoted: