Six new Lab shuttles, wrapped in colorful designs, are turning heads on East Bay streets as they carry passengers to and from Lab sites. The distinctive designs, provided by the Lab’s Creative Services group, are illustrations of the Lab’s science mission The shuttles carry one of two different designs and are wrapped for easy identification by passengers and the community.
Deputy Chief Operating Officer Ellen Ford “unbuckled” the first of the shuttles on Tuesday to mark the introduction.
The shuttles, in addition to the colorful wrap, carry the latest in technology. They have vehicle telematics that provides feedback to the driver and shuttle management on driver performance. They also has transit system prioritization that allows the shuttles to communicate with select transit signals to keep a green light green a bit longer to enable the shuttle to stay on schedule. The technology also provides real-time passenger counts, which, when the shuttles return to route operations, will allow for adjustments as passenger demand shifts. The shuttles are also outfitted with front and rear bike racks.
The shuttles were ordered pre-pandemic, so even though they seat 30 and carry an additional 15 standees during the peak hours, the current allowable passenger count is six to provide for social distancing.
Smaller shuttles have replaced the passenger vans. The smaller vehicles are on loan, and when the smaller permanent, 14-seat vehicles arrive, they will also be wrapped with the new look.
Since the Lab has been operating at reduced capacity, the shuttle service has used TripShot that allows passengers to schedule their ride. Scheduling a shuttle is convenient, but it is not like a ride-sharing service with dozens of vehicles roaming the area looking for passengers. There are a limited number of shuttles and they need to be used so that the most people can be transported to and from the Lab most efficiently. Since the larger shuttles can carry only six passengers at this time, this may mean the shuttle may make additional stops after picking up the first passenger. Tripshot will not delay the final destination time for the first rider by more than eight minutes.
Here are some tips:
- Plan your trips as far in advance as possible. You can schedule a trip up to three days in advance.
- You won’t improve your pick-up time by canceling your trip. Scheduling, canceling, and then scheduling in hopes of getting a sooner pick-up time doesn’t work. This is not a ride-sharing service with dozens of vehicles in constant motion.
- The busy times for the shuttle are at 9 a.m. and the noon hour.
Your feedback is important since the Lab continues to make the shuttle service efficient and convenient. If you have any issues, report them with as many details as possible to [email protected] so the Lab can continue to improve the service.