Startup Looks to Replace Shitty-Ass Muni With Bougie-Ass Shuttle Bus

Because the last startup with a dog avatar crushed it.

Look, we get it: Muni is pretty much a giant hollowed out piece of dogshit on wheels.  Its schedule is random, at best.  NextBus, a horror show.  It's crowded, smelly, sketchy, slow, socialist, impossible, insufferable, expensive, and people clip their toenails on it.  Being drunk is pretty much a prerequisite for boarding.  Also, it doesn't have wifi and leather seats.

No one seems to know how to fix it.  It takes San Francisco 16 years to construct a single high-speed line, while Mexico City reinvents their entire bus system in three.  Willie “Da Mayor” Brown can do little more than joke about his fantastic ineptitude in fixing Muni.  And Scott Wiener still hasn't responded to my pleas to criminalize pedicures on the 14 Mission.

What can be done?

Meet Leap, the latest coddle libertarian startup that knows Muni's issues stems from our secret jealously of Google Buses:

Leap is a shuttle service for San Francisco commuters.

Leap is the best way to get to work. Our shuttles will take you downtown in the morning, and back home in the evening. Our first route, the Chestnut Express, services the Marina. We'll be adding more routes soon.

Promising “A Seat For Everyone,” a ride on Nu Muni will cost you $6 each way—assuming you own an iPhone and live on a profitable route.  Numi also only runs weekdays from “7:00 AM to 10:00 AM and from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM,” because those are the times everyone needs to ride the bus. (Sorry granny on a fixed income.)

We reached out to Greg Dewar of the N-Judah Chronciles for some initial thoughts on this stunning disruption of public transit:

This is going to blow up for a few reasons:

1. Just because it's not a Muni bus doesn't mean it can't get stuck in the same traffic Muni does.

2. If this amplifies the already existing problem of private buses at Muni stops, you can better believe MTA will crack down on them.

3. Their base cost is very high if they aren't using public power (like Muni does and is the only one that can). [Ed: never mind increased pollution from not being electric.]

4. It can't replace Muni. It only makes sense for them to run on lines that produce the most riders. They're not going to have these things in West Portal. It'll be a downtown thing to a few neighborhoods at best and even then there are insurance issues and rights of way issues.

5. It'll get a shitload of free press, it'll start up, and it will fail because they can't serve the entire city AND beat Muni. At best I see this as a snooty bus “system” that will leave most people still stranded.

We love it.  Ayn Rand's libertarian fantasy world is finally taking root in San Francisco.  Paul Ryan for mayor anyone?

(Meanwhile:)

[h/t Connie Hwong]

Comments (53)

$6? Three people car-pooling in a taxi is cheaper than that!

Have you ever TRIED to hail a cab in this pathetic city?!

The Tens had hella great tweets from that Muni operator! OMG! Rad. When they are awesome they are HELLA aweswome.

also fuck Marina douchenmobiles

Assholes

Get an education and a job asshole. Like normal people.

It’s not the only private bus line in SF right now. There’s the Jitney bus in downtown/Soma.

That being said? Yeah, this is a terrible idea. I hope it is a failtacular.

I’ll take a shitty ride on Muni over sitting next to any of the entitled wands that will ride this thing. I wonder if they’ll make pitstops for 25$ fried chicken or sustainable popsicles…

The GOOG/AAPL/FB/ebay shuttles are all run by licensed coach operators contracted by the companies (e.g. run by the same companies who do tour buses/shuttles from the airport). This guy is in for a world of hurt when his Galtmobile plows into a little old lady without the proper insurance, and he’s personally on the hook for it.

Nope. It looks like Leap is taking the Uber route, in that they are not technically a shuttle service. Instead, they are more like a “shuttle dispatch service” (like Uber does with cabs).

The relevant bits from their terms of service (https://leap.desk.com/customer/portal/articles/1082686-terms-of-service):

LEAP DOES NOT PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES, AND LEAP IS NOT A TRANSPORTATION CARRIER. IT IS UP TO THE DRIVER OR VEHICLE OPERATOR TO OFFER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES WHICH MAY BE ARRANGED THROUGH USE OF THE SERVICES.

[…]

LEAP OFFERS INFORMATION AND A METHOD TO OBTAIN THIRD PARTY TRANSPORTATION SERVICES, BUT DOES NOT AND DOES NOT INTEND TO PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES OR ACT IN ANY WAY AS A TRANSPORTATION CARRIER, AND HAS NO RESPONSIBILITY OR LIABILITY FOR ANY TRANSPORTATION SERVICES PROVIDED TO YOU BY SUCH THIRD PARTIES.”

(Sorry about the ALL CAPS– it’s in the original formatting.)

My thoughts.

If their first route is in the Marina, so be it. As much as the Marina is derided, it’s a densely populated part of town with a lot of residents who work downtown.

re: NJudah’s comment that it will fail because it won’t replace MUNI in the city. Clearly their business is to fill gaps in Muni’s service, not to replace it. Lots of transit options exist in the city for this reason.

“Sorry grannies on a fixed income!” SF Paratransit will give your granny a pre-arranged ride for $2. http://www.sfparatransit.com/ADAFares.aspx

“Three people car-pooling in a taxi is cheaper than that!” How often do three people carpool in a taxi to work?

How could it be filling gaps in Muni’s services when it is clearly copying the 30x route?

Is it skimming the potential profitable areas of a service traditionally provided by the government, similar to the debates about privatizing social security.

For all the bashing of the Marina folks, they riders they are targeting are the cost less riders, they are live in the same area, go to the same places and they won’t be vandalizing the shuttle unlike some Muni riders do..

The gap is that Muni could fill twice as many 30x buses during rush hour than they currently have in service. I’ve only had to take the 30x two or three times, but good luck getting on at 5:30pm if you board west of Embarcadero 3. So not to post a positive comment or anything, but it might help ease overcrowding.

Good point. I had not thought of that, but makes sense.

At rush hour they could also fill several buses on the 14th Mission.

Tell me dear sir, do those busses only run for those few hours a day? Where does Muni keep them when they are not needed? How about the drivers, are they part time too?

Look at his boobs!

This just in:

The newest Leap line will follow the 22-Filmore (aka the deuce-deuce) from the Marina to 16th and Valencia (i.e. two blocks from Tacolicious). Hence, the new line will be known as the Douche-Douche.

I propose the “Double Douche” since it’s at 16th.

Away with thee, riffraff Android user!

Ha ha, when you go to their web site, they made the gringo in their clipart brown, sometime after this UA post.

Amazing. Some people were calling them “white-only” on Twitter yesterday (one went so far as to call them racist, but I’ll too lazy to search for it), so they must be feeling the heat.

To save the search, might’ve been me with the lazy-racist, over here: https://twitter.com/BenWard/status/339577419872731136. I was playing with the valley-bingo tropes these guys seemed to have filled the card on, and that one was unfair of me. Maybe “monotone” would’ve be a more reasonable way to criticise their “exclusive” presentation without undermining the cause of calling out actually racist people. Sorry.

That’s just too good!

I’m imagining some “brilliant” young entrepreneurs sitting around a table, drinking heavily, when one of them shouts “Hey, sharing is big! Uber is big! Let’s combine them!”

This will fail, there is no product/market fit.
The people who’d be taking it are the ones already on private shuttle buses.

Here’s a startup idea for ya: Start up your engine, and get the fuck outta here!

San Francisco: A City for the Obscenely Wealthy and the Criminally Poor

OH SHIT! IT HAS HAPPENED! A BUS FOR ONLY WHITE PEOPLE. DOWN WITH THE BROWN!

If it gets a busload of people out of their cars, I’m all for it.

HEAVY SIGH. It would seem that all of the comments are written by dudes. As a single woman, I’m pretty pumped for this option to come to my neighborhood soon. I MEAN don’t get me wrong, Muni is outstanding- I’ve sat in vomit, I’ve seen men masturbate, and at least twice a week a Muni bus has been too full to let me on so I’m stuck without a ride. For $8 more a day, I’m pretty happy to have this option and am willing to pay it.

AND, as Eric Gregory says, it’s getting a busload of douchebags off of the Muni. Ding ding ding! Now your fixed income granny has a seat and you do too. It looks like everyone wins, no?

Right lady, most men like to sit and watch other men masturbate. We all win.

Making my point for me. I have yet to see any sort of progress towards making the Muni system cleaner/safer/better. Some people have been driven (or perhaps “bused”) to wanting an alternate solution for their 9-5 commute. This system seems to be offering that. It isn’t ruining anyone’s life.

Don’t think so. You were saying its a dude vs princess thing. Guy are made of puppy dog tails, and women are smell nice. Boys like sitting in vomit, girls don’t

But this is more like the kids from the expensive part of town leaving the public schools, and the wondering why they can’t understand each other.

Nope, didn’t mean it to come across as “princess versus stinky boy” and regret that it did. For me, it is 100% safety issue. I don’t like Muni because I never feel safe on it- from bodily fluids to theft to assault. To me, it says a lot about the current system (and the one I’m forced to rely on) when a bus full of Marina douchebags seems like my most appealing option.

If they’re forced to reconfigure their stops due to messing with Muni times then oh well. I just know that, aside from this forum and apparently some guy in Australia, a large chunk of people are supporting this and similar solutions, and want the option available to them as well. People are going to complain about everything ever (from Muni to Leap) until the sun comes up but this company is actually trying to provide a solution.

Maybe we do have more in common. The anger may seem focused on Leap, but really what we should be angry about is wrong with all of us that there is so much nastiness on Muni. Is it possible to come together as a village and fix the problems, or is it time to extend gated communities to the transportation infrastructure.?

No, it won’t ruin anyone’s life, but it might ruin Muni, or at least contribute to its issues when these shuttles add to the existing private bus traffic that already gets in the way of Muni buses at stops and intersections.

If you can spare $2000 a year, this might be a great deal! As for me, I’d rather take Muni to work and then fly to Paris or something.

Why doesn’t SF charge all these private bus/transport a licence fee to make pickups/dropoffs at the muni stops and ticket the fuck out of those that misuse them.

cuz downtown rules San Francisco, Uptown people can suck eggs.

Step aside Batman & Robin… The kids from Bal Harbor are coming thru with their douche-mobile!

Rather than bitching about Muni constantly, KM, you might want to look up traffic congestion in SF, compared to other cities (besides NY,) and at cutbacks from fed and state level too. I know you fun loving guys don’t know, but ‘austerity’ is happening all across the country by your beloved democrat wall street right wing whore. Your part about Mexico city is disingenuous, at the least, relying on most of your readers’ googling, not studying.
“But the biggest surprise wasn’t that Metrobús moves 850,000 passengers a day, runs buses less than a minute apart or has cut bus travel times by 40 percent.” Uh huh. if you get transit info from the chron, I guess that’s expected. Mexico city has a population of near 9 million. these buses only run in the ‘right areas’. Muni has about 600,000 boardings a year, depending on where you look. 9 million people vs 850,000? yes there are other bus services in Mex. City. but your analogy is so wrong. Also, you never have in the life of your blog, while you bitch about muni, actually looked up traffic congestion (in this very tight narrow streeted city compared to other american cities) and how many commuters are driving into the city. It use to ‘double’ the population during work days. Not sure what it is now. While you all bitch about old people, and stupid people riding muni (just ride a bike!), none of you ever even mention the massive monies your democrats pay for war, the massive monies that taxpayers are on the hook for trillions of toxic assets….no…it’s just….let’s bitch about stupid old gov’t bureaucracy, much like the ‘tech’ people we make fun of that want total free market capitalism. A truly fast and convenient mass transit system takes massive funds, and a reduction of cars. That means subsidized housing, and commercial rent control, and urban policy for the working and middle class, not real estate speculation. The rich will have their cars no matter what. The middle class and working class are always willing to give them up for livable and affordable vibrant and dense neighborhoods. But that’s the problem. It is the economic and political system at the root here….and that is something you and your friends would never attack. Better to play with a strawman. Keep it snarky. EWWWWW I sat next to a stinky person!
I am so thankful, as I’ve said before, that at occupy meetings I met twenty somethings, in the tech sector, and bottom working class, that had a cogent and vast knowledge of the workings of present day global finance, that not only puts my old generation to shame, but made me realize, these snarky liberal sites are in no way representative of all the new young people that live here. So go ahead make fun of me and my too long posts, cuz your side is gonna win……in my lifetime anyway. But the earth and people will win over your horrible democrats and republicans someday. I.E. the ten percent that control everything.

Mmmmm, not really. I don’t “constantly” bitch about Muni–I’ve only ridden it a handful of times, because I bike everywhere (you’re welcome to run the numbers on how much I discuss one vs. the other). Besides, if someone cannot understand this was a sarcastic reflection on Muni’s problems while bashing a bougie startup that won’t solve anything (‘getting stuck in the same traffic as Muni’), well, that is amazing.

“none of you ever even mention the massive monies your democrats pay for war, the massive monies that taxpayers are on the hook for trillions of toxic assets”

Yes, that’s what a blog about the Mission should be addressing in great detail.

How banal…..Toxinomics…we all have money and don’t care about your mewlings.

“But the biggest surprise wasn’t that Metrobús moves 850,000 passengers a day, runs buses less than a minute apart or has cut bus travel times by 40 percent.” Uh huh. if you get transit info from the chron, I guess that’s expected. Mexico city has a population of near 9 million. these buses only run in the ‘right areas’. Muni has about 600,000 boardings a year, depending on where you look. 9 million people vs 850,000? yes there are other bus services in Mex. City. but your analogy is so wrong.

Sure, but Mexico City Metro moves over 4 million people a day. Their BRT lines are only part of their entire transit system, just like Muni’s BRT lines would only be one part of the Muni system.

BTW, you should look up this newfangled thing called “paragraphs.” It’s a good way to make your writing parsable by the human eye.

But the text-wall screed helps parse the source.

Great page!
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