Giving New York Van Drivers License Won’t End Dispute, Regulations Still Block Road to Competition

Institute for Justice · July 14, 1997

Washington, D.C. ­Granting van drivers a New York City Council-approved license to provide “dollar van” service in New York’s outer boroughs will still not allowed them to compete with the city-run bus monopoly. Restrictions on vans barring them from driving along streets where public buses operate, and from picking up passengers who hail them, will continue to greatly restrict their ability to earn an honest living.

The Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice is leading the fight on behalf of the van drivers as part of its national campaign to earn greater legal protection for economic liberty-the right of every individual to earn an honest living free from excessive government regulations.

“These hard-working entrepreneurs don’t want a hand out,” said Chip Mellor, the Institute for Justice’s president. “They want merely the right to compete in the marketplace and succeed or fail based on the quality of service they provide. But, because of restrictive regulations imposed by the New York City Council at the urging of the Metropolitan Transit Authority and local transportation unions, the van drivers’ road to opportunity has been blocked.”

Mellor went on to add, “In isolated communities, like those found in much of Queens and Brooklyn, vans not only take people to work, they put people to work as drivers. The City Council should take away the road blocks that stand in the way of honest enterprise.”

“The City Council can certainly regulate the van industry for health and safety with vehicle inspections, verification of proper insurance, and driver background checks,” Mellor concluded. “But what the City Council should not do is impose onerous regulations that do little more than prohibit private, self-supporting competition with the public bus monopoly.”

The Institute for Justice advances a rule of law under which individuals control their destinies as free and responsible members of society. Through strategic litigation, training, and outreach, the Institute secures greater protection for individual liberty, challenges the scope and ideology of the Regulatory Welfare State, and illustrates and extends the benefits of freedom to those whose full enjoyment of liberty is denied by government. The Institute was founded in September 1991 by William Mellor and Clint Bolick.

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