The ever forward-thinking people of San Francisco always seems a couple of steps ahead of the rest of the country, and while much of America are just now easing into the idea of using apps like Uber over traditional taxi services, some enterprising Bay Area entrepreneurs are reimagining other forms of public transport for the better.
Leap, a newly formed private bus company, is looking to provide a luxury bus alternative to the city’s much maligned Muni bus system. The company premiered its first route in San Francisco today, dubbed the Lombard Express, which will shuttle passengers between Lombard street in the Marina and downtown in a vehicle that has more in common with a hip cafe than a typical city bus.
According to Leap, their busses will feature three distinct seating areas, “a social perimeter for chatting with neighbors, spacious front-facing seats for reading a book or catching up on a podcast, and a laptop bar for getting a jump start on work.” The buses will also feature cushy leather seats and stools for passengers, as well as USB outlets and WiFi. Food will also be available for purchase at the front of the bus. The bus also provides a surprising amount of social integration, allowing passengers to upload information about themselves for their fellow Leap drivers to view, hopefully easing social interaction between riders.
Each ride on Leap will cost $6, and fares are collected via a smartphone app or through and automatic bluetooth check-in feature. The price of each ride drops down to $5 if you purchase tickets in bulk. The more technophobic among us can also use a printed pass to gain admission. So far, the buses are running from 7am to 10am in the mornings, and again from 5pm-8pm in the evenings. Buses arrive every 10 to 15 minutes on the weekdays, and it takes about 25 minutes to ride the entire route.
The new Leap bus service looks to fill an interesting niche in transportation. If you crave a more social experience during your commute to and from the office, but can’t bear to step foot on the Muni, or if the price of chartering an Uber might not justify such a short distance travelled, this new bus service might be right for you.