While the corporate shuttles of Silicon Valley tech companies have been blamed for everything from blocking traffic, to gentrification and increased tech worker productivity, Muni's reputation still fares far worse thanks to overcrowding, a useless schedule and people's desire to get to work just this once without seeing some guy masturbate on the way. One new startup has a plan to cut down on the gap between the chauffeured tech workers headed down South and the straphangers on the express buses to the Financial District.
Leap Transit is something like Uber meets Bauer's IT, in that it allows users to use their smartphones to check schedules on a private bus line. Like the Google Buses or Genentech Shuttles that have sparked backlash from Muni riders, Leap's buses come equipped with Wi-Fi, leather seats and (one assumes) zero people carrying any luggage other than a slick briefcase.
For now, Leap Transit is only testing out shuttle runs along one route: the Chestnut Express, which follows Muni's own 30X line from Chestnut Street to the Financial District. (Making us wonder if "Leap Transit" isn't a subtle reference to leaping over all those pesky stops in Chinatown where Muni rides have been known to get hairy.) Currently, the shuttles only make four downtown runs in the mornings and reverse the route for four runs back to the Marina in the evening. Rides cost $6 each way, not including the barrier to entry of the smartphone data plan.
Because the noble 21-Hayes is our preferred mass transit method for getting from SFist's Western Branch Office to downtown destinations, it seems we're still not one of the privileged few who can make use of the cushy service. The company plans to roll out new routes in the future, but has already attracted some negative attention for being the Marie Antoinette of transit:
This has come to my attention: a $6 shuttle from the Marina to SOMA, with leather seats & wifi. Seriously, SF? leaptransit.com— connie hwong (@crh) May 29, 2013
@mustpax But Muni is not private & Leap only solves the issue for those who can afford $12/day + smartphone. Reeks of Marie Antoinette-ism.— connie hwong (@crh) May 29, 2013