Shuttle buses on the way for Gilroy, Morgan Hill commuters

Bounce Buses hopes to capture the commuter shuttle market with inaugural service set for late April or early May 2015 between Gilroy and Morgan Hill and stops in San Jose and Santa Clara. Buses will offer Wifi and one-way fares of from $8 to $12. 

GILROY— It’s not a free Google shuttle, but luxury commuter buses with Wi-Fi and low fares are set to begin service between South County and the high-tech north within weeks, a partner in a new transit venture said.
Called Bounce Buses, it will feature round-trip commuter buses between Gilroy and Morgan Hill and destinations in San Jose and Santa Clara, according to co-owner Eric Morhenn of Portola Valley.
The price: $8 to $12 each way.
“We want to be like a Google shuttle for everybody…democratizing shuttles,” Morhenn said.
Ever since Google and other high-tech firms, such as Facebook and Apple, started running their own free buses for the exclusive use of their employees in San Francisco and peninsula cities, that type of private transportation has caught the public’s attention, according to Morhenn—and that’s the spirit he hopes to capture.
“People see the Google shuttles and they love them,” he said. Referring to corporate shuttles for their employees, Morhenn said his idea goes a step further by opening up convenient shuttle bus services to the masses.
The veteran of high tech telecom companies and startups teamed with a former shuttle bus company owner to launch the new enterprise.
It targets what Morhenn believes is a niche market not served by other carriers, what he calls “underserved exurbs”—outlier suburban communities on Silicon Valley’s edges, starting with Gilroy and Morgan Hill.
Bounce Buses will ply the corridor between the two South County cities and stops in San Jose and Santa Clara where they can transfer to urban transportation networks that include buses, trains, light rail and others—including corporate shuttles such as Google’s.
And another feature that makes Bounce Buses a good option, according to Morhenn, is the recently enacted Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program. It requires companies with more than 50 employees to offer them commuter cash subsidies or other incentives to use mass transit. Details of the program can be found at https://commuterbenefits.511.org.
Round trips north on Bounce Buses will take from just under to just over an hour, return trips a bit longer, according to the schedule posted on the company’s website.
Bounce Buses will offer two morning depart times each from Morgan Hill and Gilroy weekdays, and two daily return trips from each of three station in the north.
Buses will leave the Gilroy Transit Center at 5:30 and 7:47 a.m. and depart the Morgan Hill Caltrain station at 5:51 and 8:11 a.m.
Passengers will be dropped off at one of three destinations: in San Jose at 1st and Santa Clara Streets and at Diridon Transit Center, and at Great America Station in Santa Clara.
Two daily return trips from each of those stations will begin at 3:30 p.m. with the last bus leaving at 6:26 p.m.
“A lot of people have mega-commutes, they spend eight to ten hours a week in their car,’ Morhenn said. That can be stressful and all those automobile miles add to pollution, he said. He believes his new service will lessen both.
In addition to Wi-Fi, which allows bus riders to work while traveling, the new service will over coffee, tea, large leather seats and bicycle racks.
Service is set to start near the end of April or first week in May. It will begin with one or two 13-passenger buses on the road then go to 35-passenger buses within a couple of months. If the demand is there, the next step-up will be to 56-seat luxury buses, Morhenn said. And the bigger buses also would feature restrooms, he said.
He wants to give commuters an alternative to slower public transit buses and Caltrain commuter trains that have multiple stops that make commutes longer.
“We think we can do better in terms of the quality of the ride and the number of stops. We have minimum stops; we get people where they need to go quickly,” he said.
And if the demand is there for extra commute buses for destination such as San Jose State University, high schools and sports venues, he is ready to listen.
“If the market wants us to do anything different, we are open to that,” he said.
With a website and a presence on Facebook and Twitter, Morhenn said the firm is ready to launch and is so eager to hear from commuters that it has posted a website survey to solicit input. It’s also where interested commuters can find the bus schedule and purchase tickets.
You can learn more about the service at www.bouncebuses.com.

LEAVE A REPLY