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New Luxury Bus Lines Roll Into San Francisco

New Luxury Bus Lines Roll Into San Francisco The California Report KQED News


The shuttles are refurbished city buses. They have no straps or bars to hold onto — the space is designed for seated passengers. Each bus fits about 30 people in either armchairs, banquettes or plush stools along a wooden counter.

Up front there is a mini-fridge with a selection of snacks and beverages for sale. Riders can order up things like Blue Bottle, Stumptown Coffee, Boxed Water and Happy Moose Juice — a crowd favorite.

The bus seems to cater to the kind of tech-savvy professionals in its promotional video, but Kirchhoff says it is for everyone.

“We built Leap to be for all of San Francisco,” he says, “not one particular group of people.”

Yeah right, says Ilyse Magy. She is a representative from the San Francisco Transit Riders Union.

“I get triggered when I think about all of the people who don’t have access to Leap,” she says.

Magy points to the price. A standard ticket costs $6 compared to $2.25 on a city bus. You need a smart phone to get on, unless you print your tickets, which means you need access to the Internet and a printer. There is no discount for young riders, no designated seating for the elderly or pregnant, and the bus is not wheelchair accessible.

“When you have fewer and fewer people taking public transportation, but still voting on how it’s funded and how it’s managed, you have a voter base that is out of touch with the system,” Magy says.San Francisco’s public transit system needs improvement says Magy, but services like Leap do not help. She says Leap segregates the well-off from the rest of the city; it allows more privileged riders to opt out of the public system she says, which will eventually weaken it.

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I've never heard the phrase "luxury bus" before. 

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