Last Thursday, Marine Park residents gathered outside the home of Angel Sagardia to honor him after he and his wife, Samantha, were the victims of a hit-and-run at the hands of a “dollar van,” a sometimes unlicensed livery service that shuttles people up and down Flatbush Avenue, killing him and leaving his wife in critical condition.
The community called for stronger enforcement of the illegal street hailing service, while some called for their elimination altogether. This isn’t the first time a dollar van has hurt someone or worse.
“A lot of people spoke about the dollar vans — different laws or even having them eliminated,” Janine Horowitz told the Brooklyn Daily. “That would be a step in the right direction.”
As reported by the Brooklyn Daily:
Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Marine Park) attended the vigil and said that the city needs to be more aggressive against the vans, because drivers are putting people’s lives at risk.
“We need the laws that exist to be enforced,” he said. “The vans that are driving up and down Flatbush, driven by people who do not necessarily have the best records, or who do not follow traffic rules, pick up passengers in bus routes,” he said. “This is going on 15 to 18 years — it’s not something that just happened yesterday. We need to enforce the current rules. It’s a mystery as to why the [Taxi and Limousine Commission] is not more proactive.”
Senator Martin Goldman of Marine Park held a private meeting outside of Kings Plaza near the site of the hit-and-run on Friday with the Taxi and Limousine Commission, the Department of Transportation, and police from the 63rd precinct about how to make the streets safer, according to the Brooklyn Daily.
According to a livery commission representative, the city is and continues to enforce the illegal use of dollar vans.
“The TLC does regular enforcement against unauthorized commuter vans on Flatbush Avenue and other neighborhoods, combined with education and outreach to passengers about how to distinguish between legal and illegal commuter vans,” Rebecca Harshbarger of the livery commission told the Brooklyn Daily.
The dollar vans don’t actually cost a dollar; they cost two dollar. At 75 cents less than a bus fare, is it really worth the risk to have them on the street? What do you think?