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New Fleet of All-Electric Dollar Vans to Provide Greener Rides to 'Transportation Deserts' in Brooklyn

Dollar vans allow Brooklynites that reside in areas without public transit to get to transportation hubs in Brooklyn.
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Dollaride gets $10 million grant to electrify Brooklyn’s dollar vans. Photo: Provided/ Dollaride.

A brand new clean-energy program has been announced for Brooklyn, which will replace New York City's current models of gas-powered dollar vans with an all-electric fleet.

The program, called the Clean Transit Access Program, received a $10 million award from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to electrify the fleet of alternative transportation vehicles for Brooklyn and Queens.

CTAP is a program that involves the collaboration of four NYC-based companies — Dollaride, Blocpower, HEVO and Build Edison — and the goal of these local companies is to create an innovative model to provide cleaner mobility for dollar van users in NYC, according to the CTAP press release.

Dollar vans are a valuable method of transportation for New Yorkers that reside in transit deserts throughout NYC.

Transit deserts are areas that have limited access to public transportation options. Dollar vans allow people that reside in these underserved areas to connect with public transit hubs to get where they are going.

More than 2 million New Yorkers who commute daily live in transit deserts, and over 120,000 of those New Yorkers rely on dollar vans so that they can commute without issue, according to the press release.

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris says that CTAP will not only help to continue providing reliable transportation services for residents in transit deserts that need it, but it will also serve to reduce damaging carbon emissions as well.

“NYSERDA is thrilled to support the CTAP program to eliminate the transportation barriers faced by New Yorkers every day," Harris said.

"Clean transportation should be available to all, and the innovative founders of these four companies are coming together with us to show the world that New York State is accelerating our transition to a greener, more equitable future while investing in underserved communities to reduce the impact of pollution-driving emissions that cause climate change.”

In addition to the environment-friendly fleets, CTAP will provide other benefits to the dollar van industry. This includes developing new routes, establishing wireless charging infrastructure for the new fleets, and more.

“I grew up using dollar vans and cabs, and still use them when I visit family in Brooklyn," said Donnel Baird, Founder and CEO of BlocPower.

"BlocPower is proud to deploy our decarbonization experience and financing services for the world's first all-electric dollar van fleet. This project shows once again that the most innovative ideas to curb climate change start in the communities most impacted by the crisis."

The first electric fleets will arrive in Brooklyn and Queens sometime in late 2023. After that, the program plans to expand the fleets into other NYC transit deserts in 2024 and 2025.