This morning's New York Times has an account of how the government transportation industry tries to regulate its competitor out of existence:
The commuter van industry grew out of the 11-day public transit strike in 1980, when mostly Caribbean immigrants started driving vans along or near bus routes. The service evolved into a shadow mass transportation system that looks much like those many of the drivers and passengers were used to in countries like Jamaica, Haiti, Guyana and Barbados.
As the number of vans increased, the Transport Workers Union, wary of competition for public buses, pressured the City Council to clamp down on the vans. The Council passed tough regulations in 1994 that made it significantly harder and more expensive for drivers to license their vans.
Drivers are required to keep lists of every passenger they transport and are barred from following the same paths as buses.
The article says it costs about $12,000 a year for the required licenses, inspections, and passenger liability insurance to be a legal van. The result? A large number of unlicensed van operators.
The Times article doesn't mention the lawsuit brought by the Institute for Justice on behalf of van operator Hector Ricketts.