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Coronavirus Crisis

Thursday’s Headlines: We’re Always Asking Questions Edition

12:04 AM EDT on April 16, 2020

Who is helping these guys? Photos: Ben Verde/Gersh Kuntzman

Yesterday, we learned that the city will use out-of-work taxi drivers to deliver food to homebound people during the coronavirus crisis (NYDN).

Ever the skeptics, we asked City Hall, "What about out-of-work bicycle delivery people?" — and our request for equity was dismissed with one part bureaucracy, one part wishful thinking and one part inability to see bikes as anything more than toys.

Here’s the full answer we got from City Hall:

"1. Taxi and Limousine Commission drivers are all registered with the city and have had all background checks, drug tests, and have insurance. 2. TLC drivers have lost most of their business carrying passengers, while there is still demand for bikers to do deliveries across the city for restaurants, grocery stores, and other businesses. 3. Using cars allows the program to operate because they have more space to deliver food, as the packages come in multiple large boxes, not one meal at a time."

We followed up with a query about cargo bikes, but didn’t get an answer. But thanks for playing!

Here's the rest of the news of the day:

    • Remember that MIT study we pooh-poohed yesterday about how the subway system made coronavirus so much worse? Well, the Post obviously wanted a big headline to agree with the anti-transit professor — but David Meyer's story ended up quoting enough actual experts that the MIT egghead came off as not so bright after all.
    • Business Insider followed our story about how non-drivers are being turned away from coronavirus testing sites, but didn't bother to credit us for that first draft. No matter, happy to help spread the word!
    • We liked Ben Kabak's elegiac piece about his disconnect from the very arteries of New York City — the transit system. (2nd Ave. Sagas)
    • The Times finally covered the speeding epidemic — and still the reflexively pro-car Metro Section squeezed some both-siderism into the story, quoting the "grass roots" National Motorists Association as saying, shucks, drivers aren't so bad. By the way, Winnie Hu, even Wikipedia says NMA is suspect.
    • Don't forget your mask on the subway starting tomorrow! (NY Post)
    • The Downtown Alliance is still running a shuttle bus — and posted a nice story about one of its drivers.
    • Like Streetsblog, amNY covered the MTA's pressing money need.
    • These days, we all scream AT ice cream. (NY Post)
    • The city Department of Transportation lost its second employee to coronavirus. Derrick Butler, an assistant city highway repairer in the Bridges Division, leaves a son and daughter.

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