The local transportation in San Francisco has been very fancily redefined with the Leap, a start-up transportation service. The private bus company launched its first route in San Francisco today with just four stops.
The Express service or Lombard Express as called by the company started its maiden service and will travel between Lombard Street in the Marina and downtown. This bus picks up its passengers every 10-15 mins on weekdays from 7am to 10am and 5pm to 8pm. The time taken by the bus to cover the four-stop journey is 25 minutes.
So what’s so fancy about this bus? Unlike the regular buses, this bus has a very different seating arrangement. There are three types – social perimeter to chat with neighbors, spacious front-facing seats for reading or working and a laptop bar for work or browse sites. Also the bus houses, barstool seats, food counter, USB outlets and WiFi. Apart from the above mention, this bus has a social network aspect to it. These is an opt-in part of the app where one can share a little bit of information about oneself and get to know about others who are riding along. Also the app gives live updates where the bus is and the number of seats not taken in the bus.
Apparently the bus with so many amenities is not all that expensive. Single ticket costs $6 and if bought in the packs of 20, it costs $5. The cost can go down to $4 per ride, if the commuter benefits are used. Riders can use their smartphones for their tickets or use Bluetooth for automatic check-in upon boarding the bus or the riders can also carry printed pass.
The entire internal experience of the bus with its amenities and seating is what differentiates this Leap bus from other startups like Chariot. The interesting part is that these buses are old NABI buses which have been refurbished with plush interior seating and ambience. They run on natural gas.
Reports suggest, Leap is funded with $2.5 million from Andreesen Horowitz – a venture capital firm-, Index Ventures, Slow ventures and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
The startup company Leap is focusing on the growing problem of economic boom in San Fransisco which has put tremendous pressure on the demand for transit network. Most of the buses that travel that route are jam-packed during the peak hours. Passengers have to wait for long to even board the bus. The cabs are ruled out as they are very expensive for everyday travel.
Leap Express buses has already attracted many locals and if it continues to be more reliable, convenient and clean than Muni and cheaper than Uber or Lyft, there is a sure shot the locals are going to see more Leap buses on the roads soon.