Me love a dolla van yes? Where else can you listen to the latest reggae tracks, watch a dancehall party video, practice your patois or creole, enjoy a thrilling death-defying ride through the streets of New York and make it to your destination 1/2 hr ahead of that slow-ass bus you were waiting on in the first place? And all for $1.50! [2013 UPDATE: Fares are now $2.00]
Of course, it has it’s downsides. Sitting sandwiched between a REALLY big Jamaican woman talking too loud on her phone and a homie bobbin’ his head to his turned-up-too-high Ipod can be more than a little annoying. And he driver dipping in and out of traffic as if he were piloting a 10 speed instead of a 15 passenger van full to capacity is a little too much for my heart sometimes. But the dolla van is truly a blessing when you’re in a hurry.
Where did these daredevil hustlers come from? From all over the Caribbean. I haven’t been to to many islands but I know Guyana has their own network of commuter vans called mini-buses. And they are known daredevils as they pick up and drop off their fares along the roads. I’m guessing that along with curry, Sean Paul and Jah Rastafari, that mini-buses came over on the boat and morphed into the NYC dolla van.
I’m starting to see some American drivers crop up now. I don’t enjoy their rides quite as much. It not the same if your driver isn’t yelling incomprehensible patois into his cb radio while turning up the volume on the latest Elephant Man track blasting from his 5 video screens.
Either way, me glad fa dem yes? There’s nothing worse than when de police run de dolla van dem offa de street for the day. There you are stuck waiting with half of Brooklyn for 30 minutes on an all ready crowded bus. Dolla vans/cabs fill a dire need for frequent and speedy transportation in the outerboros. The fact that they come with a usually fun and colorful experience is just the cherry on top.
Do you use dolla vans or cabs to get around town? What’s your favorite route/van company? Anything outrageous ever happen on one of your trips? Did the fare change piss you off when it when through? Tell me nuh?!