Listen on Spotify , Podbean

Episode 05 — Jitney and Anarchy: A 100-Year Global History of Rideshare in Popular Music        

Peter Sebastian Chesney

UHI alumni Peter Sebastian Chesney and PhD candidate of History at UCLA dives into the history of rideshare in Los Angeles and beyond, illuminating the collective organizing practices that bear relevance to today’s so-called ‘sharing economy.’


Peter Sebastian Chesney is a Ph.D. student in UCLA’s history department who is filing in the summer of 2021. His dissertation is called “Drive Time: A Sensory History of Car Cultures from 1945 to 1990 in Los Angeles.” He graduated from UHI in 2016 as part of the first Mexico City cohort. In the years since, he has taken his interdisciplinary training into several consulting roles. He worked with Zev Yaroslavsky, Alisa Belinkoff-Katz, and Marques Vestal on a housing history, with Anna Deavere Smith on a streaming television narrative, with the President of Occidental College on a study of the liberal arts, with Peter Lunenfeld on a commercial book, with Gustavo Leclerc on his newest book, and with the late Martin Wachs and Yu Hong Hwang on a traffic reduction history. A focus on jitneys came of the collaboration with Marty, the University of California’s most prominent transportation planner ever, who advised in the writing of “The Return of the Jitneys,” a forthcoming essay in the journal Critical Planning.


Analysis of Jitney Operations in Los Angeles. (Southern California Rapid Transit District Planning Department April 1983), Los Angeles Metro Library Archives.

“Auto Snipers and Trolley Cars.” Sunset 34, no. 1 (January 1915).

Bottles, Scott L. Los Angeles and the Automobile: The Making of the Modern City (University of California Press, 1987).

Bradley, Ryan. “Lyft’s Search for a New Mode of Transport,” MIT Technology Review, 13 October 2015.

Crumpley, Jerry. An Overview of Jitney Operations in Los Angeles (Southern California Rapid

Transit District Planning Department August 1983)

de Soto, Hernando. El otro sendero: La revolución informal (Editorial El Barranco, 1986).

Eckert, Ross D. and George Hilton. “The Jitneys,” Journal of Law and Economics 15 (October 1972).

Electric Railway Journal

Franzen, Carl. “Republicans and Democrats are fighting over who loves Uber more,” The Verge, 25 August 2014.

“Gasoline Gus and His Jitney Bus.” performed by Billy Murray and Chorus, 1915, UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive.

Hampton, Phil. “Q&A with Travis Kalanick,” UCLA Newsroom, 9 October 2015.

Hartman, Saidiya. Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval

(W.W. Norton & Company, 2019).

Harvey, David. A Brief History of Neoliberalism (Oxford University Press, 2005).

Hilton, George W. Federal Transit Subsidies: The Urban Mass Transit Assistance Program

(American Enterprise Institute, 1974).

Holtz, Allan. “Obscurity of the Day: Gasoline Gus,” Stripper’s Guide, 21 November 2012.

Jackson, Louis E. and C.R. Hellyer. A Vocabulary of Criminal Slang: With Some Examples of

Common Usages (Portland City Detective Department, 1914).

Jitney Busses Scrapbook. Collection no. 6023, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of
Southern California.

Kirby, Ronald F. Para-transit: A Summary Assessment of Experience and Potential (Urban
Institute, 1974).

Los Angeles Herald

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Tribune

McShane, Clay. Down the Asphalt Path: The Automobile and the American City (Columbia
University Press, 1994).

Moore, Adrian. “Private Transportation and Competition,” Reason, 18 May 2004.

Poole, Robert. “Surface Transportation News #147,” Reason, 7 January 2016.

Rosenbloom, Sandi. “Taxis and Jitneys: The Case for Deregulation,” Reason (February 1972).

Roth, Gabriel and George G. Wynne. Free Enterprise Urban Transport (Urban Mass

Transportation Administration Office of Policy Development 1982).

Storper, Michael. “The neo-liberal city as idea and reality,” Territory, Politics, Governance 4, no. 2 (2016).

Teal, Roger F. and Terry Nemer. “Privatization of urban transit: The Los Angeles jitney experience,” Transportation 13 (1986).

Valenzuela, Abel, Lisa Schweitzer, and Adriele Robles. “Camionetas: Informal travel among

immigrants,” Transportation Research 39, no. 10 (December 2005).

Wachs, Martin and Margaret Crawford, eds. The Car and the City: The Automobile, the Built

Environment, and Daily Urban Life, (University of Michigan Press, 1992).

Wilson, August. Jitney (Samuel French, Inc, 2002).

Fiegerman, Seth. “Uber is the New Rap Cliché,” Mashable, 6 May 2016.

Cherri Murphy, Gig Workers Rising’s Instagram, (November 2020)