Brooklyn, NY – Councilmembers David Greenfield and Brad Lander were joined by Commissioner David Yassky of the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) on Sunday afternoon to announce the September 20th launch of the Group Ride Vehicle Pilot Program along the former B23 Route. All stops along the Group Ride Vehicle Pilot Program’s B23 route are clearly marked with signs and are designated as “No Standing” zones. Motorists should not park in the designated areas, some of the former B23 bus stops, during the service’s hours of operation, from 6am-10pm, or they will be ticketed for parking violations. The main stop in Boro Park is at 16th Avenue and 50th Street – a former bus stop that will now be a Group Ride stop.
The TLC’s Group Ride Vehicle Pilot Program will provide point to point, shared ride van service between specified pick up and drop off locations along former MTA bus routes. Included in this program is the former B23 route, which operated in Brooklyn’s Boro Park, Kensington and Flatbush neighborhoods. The B23 served an estimated 1,580 weekday customers until it was eliminated in June over the vehement objections of Councilmembers Greenfield and Lander. The B23 bus route elimination was part of the MTA’s attempt to close a nearly $800 million budget deficit.
In addition to running licensed TLC vans along the former B23 line, the Group Ride Vehicle Pilot Program will also operate routes that follow the former B39 and B71 routes in Brooklyn, as well as the Q74 and Q79 routes in Queens. The vans would transport 6 to 20 passengers, and charge a flat fare of $2 per ride. Vehicles will be clearly marked with the words “GROUP RIDE VEHICLE” on their exterior, and will have unique identifying decals in several locations. There will also be identifying markings in each vehicle’s interior. Pick-up and drop-off locations will be marked with DOT-provided signage, although the stops are not static and additional drop-off locations within service areas may be requested by passengers and agreed-to by drivers.
“The purpose of this program is to provide safe and reliable service in areas that have been impacted by the MTA’s service disruptions, some of which were already challenged by limited transportation options,” said Commissioner Yassky. “This is an exciting opportunity for the TLC to help introduce and test an entirely new kind of service that never before existed – one that we believe will help thousands of people get where they need to go in a safe and convenient way.”
“It is sad that because of the dysfunctional MTA we have to resort to private methods of transportation” said Councilman Greenfield. “This community desperately needs public transportation. Thanks to the TLC’s out-of-the-box solution nearly 1,600 commuters will have some alternative to the MTA leaving them stranded. We are grateful that the TLC agreed to this trial program in our community.”
“While this service will never be a full replacement for the B23 bus service, we are very glad that the residents of Borough Park and Kensington will have a way to get through certain sections of their neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Lander. “This service will serve as a vital link for thousands of travelers and we are pleased that the TLC has been able to provide this service.”