Wednesday, January 11, 2012

going green -- but no green to show for it

City Limits details the travails of the 'green cart' program in NYC. Many of the vendors the magazine spoke with are looking to get out of the street trade. Among the magazine's findings:

  • since the inception of the program, over 4,200 applications have been submitted, yet only 640 permits were issued. 
  • interviews with 35 vendors in four boroughs show that the average vendor takes home an annual net income of approximately $7,500 dollars (or an average of $62 a day — less than minimum wage), putting them in the bottom 7 percent of income in the United States.
  • 60 percent of Green Cart vendors who started in 2008 did not renew their permits.
  • from the first year to second year of the program, the number of tickets (and thus, fines that will be levied) per number of vendors increased by 150 percent.
  • parking the cart can cost $250 a month, plus two months security deposit.
  • buying fruits and vegetables can be prohibitively costly, because the main wholesale market is in Hunt's Point--a long jaunt from most other neighborhoods. 
  • One vendor the magazine interviewed reported that he worked 12-hour shifts seven days a week yet was losing between $100 and $150 each day.
Possible fixes include fund vendors' cooperatives, simplifying licensing requirements, creating joint buying clubs.

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