This week, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA) will consider approving a new permit program for private transit vehicles, or PTVs. These vehicles – currently, Chariot is the only one operating in the city – use shuttle vans and a smartphone app; they are “open to the public, charge individual fares and operate on fixed routes,” according to the SFMTA website.
Bureaucrats may call them PTVs, but these vehicles are better known by an old slang term: jitney. And I was surprised to learn that both the word jitney and jitney transportation have deep roots, and routes, in California.
A “super jitney bus” in San Francisco, 1970s. Photo via SFMTA.com.