Public transportation, when it’s not busy getting stalled, derailed, caught in traffic, or sucked up into some unnameable vortex, is an otherwise great triumph of modern cities. It’s the lifeblood of urban infrastructure and, arguably, part of what makes a city a city. And in a place like NYC, subways, buses and ferries provide daily transportation to millions of commuters and tourists alike—when it’s business as usual. And yes, we see you too, folks who use cabs and rideshare apps exclusively. (But let’s face it, that’s not exactly an economical solution for everyday use.)
When this writer first moved to a neighborhood in south Brooklyn, relinquishing an out-of-state zip code and car, a realtor advised that my new apartment was “incredibly close to so many subways!” I squinted at a map and nodded at my new neighborhood, with zero ability to judge distance or the time it would take the average person to walk out the door and onto a train. In practice, “incredibly close” translated to a 20 minute walk to one of two equidistant stations, on top of a 45 minute train ride. Rainy days were especially irritating, and winters were even less pleasant. Eventually, I ended up taking the bus to the subway, which slightly decreased my commuting time and my pre-coffee ire. It wasn’t the worst—but it could have been better.
The point of this story is that public transportation is only as good as its accessibility. And there are plenty of places in NYC where subways, for example, feel more like myth than reality. Neighborhoods like Alphabet City in Manhattan or Mill Basin in Brooklyn are, in practice, subway deserts. It’s not uncommon to find residents cobbling together some sort of walk-bus-subway-walk type of commute. And again, in times where the subway isn’t quite living up to expectations, the problem of timely and efficient commuting is a serious reality for many New Yorkers. Fortunately, there’s a new player in what’s called the “micro-transit” community. Chariot is a crowd-sourced commuter service that brings flexible and accessible transit options to New Yorkers not within walking distance of subways and buses. The Chariot team wants to bridge all those unpleasant gaps between less-than-reliable public transportation options—and that's something to celebrate.
Newly launched in NYC, Chariot rides are placed at a four dollar flat-fee (which is way cheaper than a cab), and are offered at typical commuting times, during the morning and evening hours. Chariot currently offers service in two well-known subway deserts: the East Side Express (LES to Midtown) and DUMBO Direct (Greenpoint to DUMBO). Each Chariot seats 14 passengers, which sounds way less crowded than your typical subway car.
Can’t find a Chariot near you? Visit their website or download their app to submit your desired “to” and “from” destinations, effectively casting a ballot to bring the commuter service to your route. When 50 of your friends and neighbors do the same, voila—Chariot will deliver its game-changing wheels straight to you.
Excited yet? (Admit it, you are.) Because let’s face it—your current commute is probably a drag! Thankfully, Chariot is committed to getting you from here to there much more comfortably and efficiently than the average commuter ever thought possible.
Ready for a better, more reliable commute? Your Chariot awaits.
This post is a sponsored collaboration between Chariot and Gothamist staff.