Did They Find a Need and Fill It?
Someone has come up with what certainly seems like a great idea. It’s called the SleepBus and the people behind it may have found an answer to a need no one knew we had: cheap, comfortable, overnight transportation between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Meet the SleepBus. Uh . . . Do ya think that’s really a bus? It sure looks like a truck to me.
All that aside, it’s outfitted with single-person berths (they call them “pods”) with clean sheets and blankets. There are also some cozy seating areas with tables and chairs. There’s a restroom on board and an attendant who’s there to keep an eye on things. And—most important given the young demographic to which it’s appealing—there’s WiFi which, they say, will work for the entire journey.
The trip itself will take about six-and-a-half hours, departing from each city at 11:00 p.m. and arriving at its destination around six o’clock the next morning … depending on traffic conditions, of course.
And how much for this service? The initial quoted fare is $48 per person, but the company says that’s an introductory deal and they expect the fare will eventually settle in at about $60 per person, one way.
Amtrak’s Coast Starlight—I knew you would want to know this—will take you from L.A. to Emeryville (across the Bay from San Francisco) in a coach seat for $63. The trip takes 12 hours and is in daylight most of the way in either direction.
All that said, I did come across a couple of web sites with reviews of SleepBus. Several were raves, including the concept, the smooth reservations system, the good night’s sleep on the crisp clean sheets and the affordable price. But there were others—more than a few, actually—complaining that they were unable to make reservations through the SleepBus web site and that they had left messages that were never answered. Let me say that I did wonder about the authenticity of some of the positive reviews—several sounded like advertising copy—while the negative comments were clearly written by very real, very pissed off people.
According to the company’s web sit, ten new SleepBuses have been ordered—and they actually look like buses—with delivery expected by the end of August. Of course it hasn’t yet proven to be a great idea, but personally I would bet it succeeds.