Late last night, luxury bus startup Leap issued a statement on its Facebook page noting that the company would be temporarily suspending its San Francisco service, citing regulatory issues with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The commission issued Leap a cease-and-desist letter last week (PDF), saying that Leap Transit did not have a permit to operate in the city.
The company has proved devisive in the Bay Area, where public transportation suffers from a litany of problems, and Leap buses are seen as a way for the wealthy to create a “two-tiered” transportation system. A ride on a Leap bus costs $6 and offers charging ports, free Wi-Fi, and a guaranteed seat. By contrast, a ride on Muni, San Francisco’s municipal public transportation system, costs only $2.25 but the buses are unreliable, packed to the gills, and employ not a single on-board bus manager to bring you coconut water.
Leap so far only operates one bus line in the city, which goes from the Marina neighborhood to the Financial District. The company applied for a state permit from the CPUC in 2013, which would have afforded the company “the potential for less oversight and fewer rules,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. But the city of San Francisco said that it ought to be able to regulate Leap, as SF municipal services would experience the greatest toll from competition from Leap.
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