In wake of fuel shortage, New Yorkers turn to Craigslist to find, offer rides

Commuters make their way across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

As the city’s fuel supply rapidly dwindles in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers are pulling together to meet the three-person requirement for cars coming into Manhattan — even if it means finding each other on Craigslist.

Shortly after Mayor Michael Bloomberg imposed on rule on drivers to have at least three people in the car before crossing bridges into the city, those desperate for rides — and those willing to give rides — took to the site to connect. For some who must get back to work, finding rides with strangers is outweighing a question of safety.

“I’m traveling to Manhattan tomorrow on Nov 1. at about 9:00 am. I can take you with me so I can get in to the city,” one poster from Queens said. “I am driving pretty new Mercedes so you will actually enjoy the ride. I’m a family man with kids so you’d be safe.”

“Do you need a ride?” another ad asked. “I can give you a ride in my Dodge Grand Caravan minivan. I can comfortably transport up to 6 passengers.”

Some drivers are capitalizing on the opportunity by charging for rides in and around the city, just as many taxis are being pulled from the roads after a lack of fuel.

“I do hourly for $30 an hour or $25 for 4 hour’s and $20 for each additional hour,” one driver posted, along with his photo. “I also do carpool but you have to organize it.”

Officials are blaming the city’s alarming fuel shortage on a number of factors, including the closure of the New York Harbor, a major oil hub for the Northeast. Floating debris and a diesel spill from a fuel terminal prompted the Coast Guard to close the harbor, and no timetable has yet been announced for its reopening.

More cars are on the road today, since public transit is still
limited in most areas, contributing to the shortage. Fuel is also in high demand from those who are
relying on generators to power their homes after massive power outages
across the region.


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