1. This is great for before 7AM flights out of SFO / SJC, where public transit is not an option.
2. I showed this to my fiancée (who does the south bay / city commute every day). She said: "This would be a lot more useful to me if they came in between Caltrains, which can be an hour apart."
Disclosure: I don't live in California, and I have no idea. I only just looked up the schedule from Caltrain.
So how does one get from Millbrae to SFO if the BART is not running? (asks the occasional visitor)
Catch is you have to pick it up around 4 AM and get to the airport that early, but if you're not flying until 7, maybe you can snooze in the airport for a bit...
(I know this from a painful morning where my wife missed a 6 AM flight.)
The fact that this bus actually seems more appealing than Caltrain actually makes me question the Caltrain's existence as a matter of transportation policy.
EDIT: note that the bus is faster.
It's a complaint about the Caltrain's infrequency rather than existence.
If you find this exciting you might also enjoying Night School:
Bus routes attempting to operate along train stations are always convoluted routes forced to go back and forth between main roads and the stations, trying to drop passengers off at the same transfer points as the train.
It would better just drop people off along El Camino, instead of looping round and round through those stations.
Not that it's dramatically worse than having no option, of course. Just that it would drive me crazy as a mode of transport, if you're expecting it to behave like a train...
Towards the beginning of my career (while still relatively poor) I got stranded in San Jose after Caltrain hours. I got a ride with someone to San Bruno, waited in the cold and dark for a bus with my laptop as a space-heater, caught the night bus, and after ~2.5 hours and 3 buses -- including a transfer in a dark creepy neighborhood at the southern edge of San Francisco proper that I didn't actually expect I'd need to make -- I made it the rest of the way home. Now THAT was tortuous. :b
And that, of course, is also how buses operate that replace portions of the subways that are temporarily out of service. For example, I sometimes encounter it when I come home late at night on Boston Orange line, which has a lot of construction (they are trying to insert a new station inside an operating segment) and an occasional late-night or weekend replacement of subway service with a shuttle service. I never remember that tonight it is going to be a bus and, in any case, I have to park in a parking garage next to a [redacted] subway station where I have a monthly parking ticket.
Edit: Never heard back. I guess this isn't live.
Edit: Just got an email. Running to Caltrain now. :)
Sounds like a great idea to me.
In Morocco, they have something in between public transport and private taxi where these beat-up old Mercedes ("grands taxis") wait to drive popular routes - when the car fills, you leave and all split the fare. Or you can pay a higher price to leave sooner. During one ride inland, I wanted to wind down the window and the driver passed back the sole hand-carved window-winder he had resting on the dash. All the existing winders had been lost or long-since removed!
And perhaps more importantly, connecting Fremont Bart to Caltrain in south bay.
As a side, I'd really like an entire loop around the bay. No public transportation does that, and it'd be great for drunk people at night.
BART will eventually connect this, but you would still need to transfer in Oakland, which is roughly 20-30 minute detour. Walnut Creek -> Fremont currently takes over 1 hour on BART, to cover a distance of roughly 30 miles.
I hope they have a bunch of sailor songs on MP3! And a barf bucket. And everything can be cleaned by hose.
Wouldn't Sunnyvale be at most the second largest city, behind San Francisco?
"I am going out in SF, drinking. Set the app to send me SMS reminders of when I need to head out. Connect me with an uberX to the pickup spot. Make me reply to the SMS that I got home safe."
A local train covers the same distance in 91 minutes (vs 81 minutes for this shuttle) but also makes every stop. A baby bullet train that makes roughly the same number of stops as the shuttle does the trip in 57 minutes.
Caltrain's baby bullet trains beat every other mode of transportation up and down the peninsula in terms of speed assuming you live by one of the stops AND the train isn't delayed due to the distressingly frequent accidents and mechanical failures.
In the middle of the night (like this service) perhaps not. I still like it though because parking is such a nightmare.