Here’s one of those not-so-hidden city secrets that sounds too good to be true: For $2.75 you can take a van that shuttles passengers back and forth between Manhattan’s Chinatown and Flushing’s Chinatown.
Operated by Zhong Hua Van Service, shuttles leave everyday, all the time, from Division St. at Bowery St. in Chinatown (Manhattan).
There’s no need to schedule your departure or try to reserve a seat online — it’s not that put-together nor does Zhong Hua want it to be. If you roll up and a van just departed, don’t worry, there’s enough vans in the fleet that there’s always another one waiting with it’s door wide-open looking to fill its 20-25 seats.
Once full, you’re off. You and 24 Chinese New Yorkers are on your way to Queens for cheaper produce, better dim sum, the New World Mall Food Court, or visiting family.
The van is a van is a van so don’t expect any special creature comforts. For $2.75, you get a seat and a 30-45 minute ride into Flushing. It does what it does. It is what it is.
I’ve taken both the subway and the shuttle service to Flushing. Zhong Hua wins hands down. I don’t get all the four star reviews on Yelp – for a quarter more than a subway ride, you can get direct service to Flushing. Zhong Hua is a lot easier, quicker, and because you’re not underground, you have cell coverage so you can read more Buzzfeed listicles. What else do you want for $2.75?
* Why doesn’t Zhong Hua raise their prices to $3.50 or something? It would still be a great value, right? Knowing my Chinese people, I believe any price much higher than $2.75 and the overwhelmingly Chinese clientele will take the subway and save the extra 75 cents.