The Hyperloop promised to send passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco, a route that takes about six hours, in 35 minutes. But its implementation could be years away.
A sleepaway bus called Cabin might be a good option in the meantime.
Founded in 2016, Cabin (formerly known as SleepBus) is launching a chartered bus service between LA and SF that allows passengers to fall asleep in one city and wake up in the next — for about $A150 one-way. The logistics are a no-brainer: Get in, grab a bunk, and snooze.
Its flat rate makes it more affordable than flying and potentially more convenient than driving, but only if you can handle the tight quarters and 23 other passengers aboard.
Business Insider had the chance to check out the digs in person. From the outside, it looks like four school buses stacked and squished together. A downstairs lounge area, fitted with hardwood laminate floors and caramel-coloured leather benches, provides a place for night owls to socialise or get some work done. There’s complimentary WiFi aboard the vehicle.
Passengers stay in “sleep pods,” which are fitted with foam mattresses, luxury linens, and privacy shades. Each pod comes with personal outlets, a vent, a shelf for lodging your phone, a reading light, a large water bottle, ear plugs, and tea.
The pods may be more luxurious than your average bus seat, but they’re not that big. I stand five feet and four inches and could not sit up in the sleeping nook.
Cabin launched a pilot last year that drove people back and forth from LA to SF for just $A63 a ride. Tickets sold out in 36 hours and a waiting list racked up 20,000 signatures.
The desire for better budget travel between the two cities was apparent. But after the pilot, cofounders Tom Currier and Gaetano Crupi saw room for improvement in their own model. The old bus model was dark and dated. They bought a new type of bus and started over.
“This is not a bus. This is just square footage that moves,” Crupi said.
Small touches make the difference, according to Crupi. The bed linens are pressed on the mattress. The bathroom comes equipped with mouthwash. A full-time attendant serves coffee upon arrival (at the Embarcadero in SF and Santa Monica State Beach in LA).
The attendant can also asks chatty riders to pipe down. In the future, guests will submit noise complaints via a Cabin app — the company’s equivalent of call buttons on an aeroplane.
Cabin will begin overnight runs between LA and SF on weekends starting July 14. Crupi expects to quickly ramp up to nightly trips by September, and hopes to expand service to other cities.
The company may also add pricing tiers (bunks positioned farther away from the social lounge may cost more, for example) and a subscription model for frequent riders in the future.