Dollaride founder Su Sanni has been awarded $10 million by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to build the state’s first all-electric dollar van network.

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Sanni’s story: The Nigerian native who spent some time in Brooklyn’s low-income housing recognized reliable transportation could drastically change someone’s living. At an early age, Sanni trekked on foot in the cold to find a subway.

“In many urban cities, the public transit infrastructure isn’t robust enough to meet the commuting needs of normal everyday people. Studies have shown that transit access is one of the most critical factors in determining upward mobility,” Sanni told AfroTech in an email interview.

The inception of Dollaride: Sanni has been looking to make the city’s transportation infrastructure safer, cleaner, and more accessible. So, he created Dollaride in 2017 in hopes of transforming New York’s transit network and strengthening the state’s economy.


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“In New York, dollar vans are what I like to call the best kept secret hidden in plain sight. I believe that it is important to support the small businesses that operate in these informal transit networks. They can have a multiplier effect that closes both transit and economic gaps in underserved communities,” Sanni said.

Development Will Begin In 2023

In light of the $10 million boost that was distributed through an $85 million pool from the New York Clean Transportation Prizes program, The Empire State can expect major developments starting in January 2023.

“I am proud to be providing the most significant investment yet in clean transportation for historically underserved communities in New York State,” Gov. Hochul said, according to a press release. “Improving access to clean mobility options, electrifying trucks and buses, and supporting projects that reduce air pollution modernizes the way residents and visitors access community services, recreation, and work opportunities while creating jobs, improving health, and reducing the impacts of climate change.”

Clean Transit Access Program

What’s more, Dollaride will work to readily aid more fleet owners as they transition to an electric network. The company has created the cost-friendly Clean Transit Access Program (CTAP) to help fleet owners grow their businesses by leveraging its mobility software, creative financing, and partnerships.

“One of the main things we’re trying to do here is position commuter vans as a clean transportation service, while also preparing fleet owners and drivers for the future,” Sanni explained to AfroTech. “With this $10 million award from NYSERDA [New York State Energy and Research Development Authority], Dollaride’s Clean Transit Access Program will provide affordable electric shuttle buses as well as charging infrastructure to certified commuter van drivers operating in disadvantaged communities throughout NYC.”