Reactions to the plenitude of shuttle buses seen daily on the streets of San Francisco tend toward the qualitative. Convenient! Practical! Corporate! Evil! Instead, a data set submitted by local shuttle bus operators to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, regional transit planners, and the Bay Area Council, a pro-business advocacy group, provides a more quantitative picture of the system.
The point of that, the groups write, is to "help the public and policymakers alike understand both shuttles’ impact on Bay Area transportation and the local policies and accommodations that shuttles may require for successful service." That's particularly pertinent as some providers, such as Bauer's, amp up their efforts with larger fleets, and San Francisco city officials explore changes to existing rules regulating shuttle stops.
First, defining their terms, the survey explains that shuttle buses are "regularly scheduled transportation services in large multi-passenger vehicles operating as either 'last mile' connections or serving longer routes between more distant parts of the Bay Area." The study, which the groups are calling the the Bay Area Shuttle Census, is the first of its kind, and contains data from 2012, 2013, and 2014. “This clearly is a growing phenomenon around the region that has become an important part of our transportation landscape, but it’s occupying a terrain that’s largely unmonitored," John Goodwin, a transit commission spokesperson, told the San Jose Mercury News. Not anymore!
- 35: The number of shuttle service providers in the Bay Area
- 473: The total number of shuttle buses among those providers in 2012
- 765: The total number of shuttle buses among those providers by 2014
- 804: The daily number round trips those buses made in 2014
- 6.6 million: The total number of passengers that shuttles carried in 2012
- 9.6 million: The total number of passengers that shuttles carried by 2014
- 18 thousand: The number of passengers shuttle buses carried per day in 2012
- 34 thousand: The number of passengers shuttle buses carried per day by 2014
- 16 million: The number of miles shuttle buses covered in 2012
- 25 million: The number of miles shuttle buses covered by 2014
- 2 million: An estimated number for single-passenger automobile trips avoided by shuttle use
- 7th: The rank, in terms of size in Bay Area Transit, shuttles would collectively occupy in terms of ridership — if they were treated as a single system.