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Rickshaws, Ridesharing and the Return of the Trolley!

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Established infrastructure—buses, subways—moves pretty much everyone around this city. Accordingly, big investments in transportation, like the $300 million, 14-mile, Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevard north-south bus route, are important. But the city and its residents have long known less traditional, more nimble, gap-filling services are important too, especially as jobs and residences expand to transportation deserts. The last mile, that too-long walk to the closest station, is a problem that could be solved with a variety of alternatives.

The city, according to a staffer, is open to many of them. Slamming the proverbial doors inhibits growth. The money, literally, is in the creation of trips and economic activity that would not happen otherwise. Extra capacity and extra seats are great, but imagine a Soundview, Bronx resident who can work in south Brooklyn and enjoy Rockaway Beach because of a ferry priced like other Metropolitan Transportation Authority alternatives ($2.75). This winter the city issued a request for proposals for a manager of a five-borough ferry system. Expected annual ridership of 4.6 million isn’t quite 2014’s weekday subway transportation of 5.6 million people, but it’s a significant fraction nonetheless. People gotta move.

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