C.O.M.E.T. (Citizens of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together) President Roe Daraio never paid any attention to the commuter vans that operate throughout Queens until several members of her civic group made complaints about double-parked vans on residential streets in Maspeth and passengers that littered while they waited to be picked up. Suddenly, she started noticing the vans everywhere.
She decided to look into the commuter van routes, but was unable to find that information, so she made a FOIL (Freedom Of Information Law) request from the city. She received a packet of maps clearly indicating the geographic zone in which each van authority is allowed to operate. Information for Transxpress and J&HE, the van authorities that Daraio has received the most complaints about, was not included.
However, Daraio maintains that the commuter van issue never went before Community Board 5, a detail confirmed by CB5 District Manager Gary Giordano, who has held the post for 20 years.
According to Giordano, TLC-regulated vehicles are required to come before the board with base station applications and renewals, but he said that the protocol for commuter vans is unclear as the board has never been presented with an application or renewal for commuter van authorities.
Daraio said, “The lack of enforcement by TLC in our area is basically giving the green light to commuter van companies to operate outside of their authorized zones.”