In past years, the city of Boston would hold its lottery in January of sites for the new season that starts in April, It would be scheduled in coordination with the Greenway. Trucks would be informed by the Greenway when and where they had spots, so going into the Boston lottery, you knew what to fill. And I believe that this is the week that the Greenway will be announcing their selections back to the trucks.
Now one problem with a January lottery is that city always had a number of potential vendors participate, but those vendors never made it on to the road. It was hard enough for existing, established trucks to get good spots in the city, without having to worry about more trucks participating. It would seem that a solution would be not to allow a truck to participate unless they were fully permitted, or so close to that point that there would be little doubt as to their viability. Instead, the city has moved the lottery to mid-March, a mere 2 weeks before the start of the vending season.
I spoke to several food truck owners and they’re not happy about the change, so close to opening the season. Avi Shemtov of The Chubby Chickpea said, he thinks there are people in City Hall who want to strengthen the program, but cannot because of bureaucracy. As far as the lottery change, Avi shared,
“They obviously decided to change the date to benefit new trucks and allow them into the system, even though it makes it near impossible for existing trucks to bank on any city spots.”
That sentiment is common among the food truck owners I spoke with about the change.
Between now and mid March, your existing food trucks will be trying to fill in locations with anything other than Boston sites, to the detriment of the Boston program. The owners simply cannot wait and see what good spots are open in Boston and then scramble after that to fill a schedule. We already saw several trucks that were on the road in 2015, but filled their schedules without being in the city of Boston at all, save for perhaps SoWa. I’ve written before about concerns that the city program is deteriorating. You simply cannot have the same program that existing for a dozen trucks, work with 5 times that many. It remains clear that after 2 years that one area Mayor Walsh has paid almost attention to is the Office of Food Initiatives as a whole.
Among the trucks it looks like won’t be around in 2016 are Lilo’s Plates and Chowdaheads, both listed as for sale on Craigslist. That’s in addition to several trucks mentioned in a December post. After last winter, you’ll notice from the January schedule that a number of trucks are taking the winter off this year, such as Mei Mei and Roxy’s. For good news, Moyzilla is building out a second truck, with hopes of a Spring debut.