Melissa Plaut first became interested in transportation and urban planning in 2004 when she became a NYC yellow taxi driver – an experience she documented in a memoir, Hack, published by Villard/Random House in 2007. Since then, Plaut has lectured and published widely on taxi and for-hire vehicle service in New York, including several op-eds in the New York Times arguing for improvements to the industry.
From 2012 to 2014, she was the Director of Driver Operations at the on-demand taxi app Hailo, where she engaged in rigorous advocacy efforts to get New York City’s first “e-hail” pilot program passed. Plaut is currently completing her Master of Urban Planning at Hunter College, where she focuses on the relationships between innovative technologies and transportation. At Hunter, Plaut is the Managing Editor of the Urban Review, a student-run peer-reviewed planning journal, and the Vice President of the Graduate Urban Affairs & Planning Association.