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SF and LA on SleepBus


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#21 railiner

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 08:22 PM

The photo makes those 'cabins' look extremely claustrophobic to me...looks like they are stacked two high, on the 'upper level', and you crawl in and out thru your aisle window?   Wish there were more photo's showing the vehicle. They do mention a common lounge with tables on the lower level, as well as a restroom, pantry, and baggage area....

I wonder if they are using Van Hool  DD's or some truck chassis mounted custom body?

 

Edit:  It is a Van Hool TD 925....I found this article with some more info...also check out the comments...

http://travelskills....-san-francisco/


Edited by railiner, 29 June 2017 - 08:35 PM.

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#22 jebr

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 10:45 PM

The thing that's really unclear about what I'm seeing now is how early I could board or how late I can stay on upon arrival. The single price is cheaper than a hotel room + transportation, but two people would be equal (assuming $49 airfare/person + $100ish hotel room...after taxes that's probably $220-$230 and the bus is $230, and you have to be flexible to get a $49 airfare reliably.) However, if I can't really settle in until 11 PM or close to it and I'm being booted off right around 7 AM, I'd rather fly in the night before and settle into the hotel room I'll be in for the next few days (or sleep in my own bed and pull an early morning flight.)

 

If they have flexibility to allow people to board (or at least drop off their bags and freshen up) by 3-4 PM (check-in time for a hotel) and stay on as late as 11 AM (check-out time for a hotel) I could see it being a "hotel alternative" for that night. But if I'm having to lug around my bags all evening or go to my meeting without a shower after sleeping all night, I don't see it getting a ton of traction.



#23 railiner

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 05:27 AM

From the looks of it, I don't think you would want to spend much time sitting in that vehicle...I wonder if you could event sit straight up in those tiny cabins, and I don't know how many seats the "communal area" has...
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#24 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 06:20 AM

In FAQ section:

 

"Where are the pick-up and drop-off locations?

 

The pick-up and drop-off locations are listed within your reservation confirmation email or by logging into your Cabin account on our website. We will notify you should the location change for any upcoming trips you have booked."

 

How are you supposed to plan for that? How do you know the LA destination isn't in the middle of Compton?

 

Assuming the departure/arrival locations are safe and convenient, sounds like a good idea in theory. In practice, that's another story.


Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan, 30 June 2017 - 06:22 AM.

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#25 fairviewroad

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Posted 01 July 2017 - 03:58 PM

From the looks of it, I don't think you would want to spend much time sitting in that vehicle...I wonder if you could event sit straight up in those tiny cabins, and I don't know how many seats the "communal area" has...

 

Doesn't look like you can sit up. I suppose that's why there's a "communal area." Would be nice if they had a pic of that. Would also be nice if they offered dimensions. For a tall person, there's a big difference between a cabin that's 6'4" and a cabin that's 6'10" in length.

 

 


 

How are you supposed to plan for that? How do you know the LA destination isn't in the middle of Compton?

 

 

 

Yeah, I don't know why they need to be so obtuse about it. However, if you do a dummy booking, you can find the info. SF location is 1 Bryant St, and the LA location is Ocean Ave & Arizona Ave in Santa Monica (so not actually in LA).

 

Side note: This company bans all children under the age of 10. I can see their argument (actually, they don't attempt to justify this policy, it just "is.") But I'm hard-pressed to think of any other form of transportation that simply bans a certain age group entirely. Forget "unaccompanied minors", this is an outright ban.



#26 railiner

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Posted 01 July 2017 - 08:12 PM

If you're a taller person, beware of those Van Hool double-decker's...lower deck headroom is only 5'11", and upper deck 5'7".   So to paraphrase an expression from the Brit's..."mind your head"... ;)

Of course, the length of the bunk is much more important, since you will spend a lot more of the journey stretched out in that location....so yeah...I wonder how long it is?  The overall exterior of the coach is listed as

44'  4 and 9/32" over the bumpers....so figure the max number cabins on each side of the aisle would about 7 upper and 7 lower.   That would allow about 6'4" length, minus the thickness of the "soundproofed" bulkheads between them...for a total of 28 bunks...but then you would have to eliminate at least two doubles to allow room for the two spiral staircases, so now you get 24 bunks....maybe they have a few on the lower level, besides having the communal areas.... :unsure:


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#27 CHamilton

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 10:39 AM

What it’s like to ship yourself overnight on Cabin’s sleep pod bus
Cabin, the sleep pod-equipped charter bus, wants to be like the Ritz Carlton, but on wheels.
 
The reviewer doesn't even mention trains as an option for travel between SF and LA.

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#28 railiner

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 03:01 PM

Interesting trip report, thanks for posting! :)

 

I still think those 'pods' are claustrophobic, and I worry about rapid evacuation, in the event of an accident or fire...the report mentioned only some had emergency exits, if I interpreted that comment correctly... :unsure:


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#29 rickycourtney

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 08:42 PM

The pods really don't look any more claustrophobic than a bunk on an Amtrak roomette. In fact, it looks like there's quite a bit more room than the top bunk on a Superliner.

It's regrettable that the reviewer failed to mention Amtrak... but this service has one *huge* advantage over the Coast Starlight: the schedule.

The Coast Starlight is timed out to give passengers a fantastic view. That's great if the journey to your destination is part of the trip, but it's less than ideal if you just want to go somewhere for a one-day meeting or a quick weekend trip.

This bus departs one city at 11pm and arrives at the other at 7am. That's the perfect schedule for a one-day/weekend trip because it avoids the traffic in LA & SF, allows passengers a good amount of sleep, and doesn't "waste" a day in transit.

California could do something similar, but it's not a priority right now. There's been talk in the past of doing an overnight LA - SF San Joaquin run if the state could find a way to get passenger service over Tehachapi.

Edited by rickycourtney, 23 July 2017 - 08:46 PM.


#30 SarahZ

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 10:23 PM

Interesting concept, but those pictures are making me short of breath. No freaking way.


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#31 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 11:32 PM

This sounds like it's mainly geared for younger local folks who have someone dropping them off and picking them up and just need a ride between cities. It doesn't seem to be focused on rail fan retirees coming in from far away. It also seems like a rather quirky way to travel and might be worth one trip just for the curious rarity of it all.
 

The photo makes those 'cabins' look extremely claustrophobic to me...

&

From the looks of it, I don't think you would want to spend much time sitting in that vehicle...

&

I still think those 'pods' are claustrophobic, and I worry about rapid evacuation, in the event of an accident or fire...


There are people who react to Amtrak sleeper photos the same way you're reacting to this bus. Luckily some of them are adventurous enough to give it a try anyway. The one thing that this operator seems to be missing is a full size mockup for people to try in the ticket office. If they had that it would be easy to try before you buy and confirm it's workable before booking. Amtrak could probably benefit from hosting sleeper mock-ups in major stations and airports.

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#32 railiner

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 10:35 AM

Nice idea.... but I don't believe Amtrak has any difficulty in selling out the sleeper space that they have...
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#33 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 11:12 AM

Nice idea.... but I don't believe Amtrak has any difficulty in selling out the sleeper space that they have...

 

I've yet to see a single Amtrak train with every sleeper compartment sold out for the entire run. Maybe the Auto-train is like that but not the routes I ride.  The assumption that Amtrak sleepers sell out does not appear to be based on selling all or even most of the available compartment miles. Instead it seems to be based on the inability to book a sunset joyride from one end of the line to the other. Most Amtrak routes I ride have some busy sections that sell out and dead sections that are wide open.  I'd imagine having coach mock-ups could help a lot as well.  If people saw how big the seats and pitch were they might feel a lot more comfortable about riding Amtrak in the future.  A lot of the hesitation I see comes from aversion to new experiences combined with not knowing what to expect, just like your own posts in this thread about new an unusual bus services.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 24 July 2017 - 11:14 AM.

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#34 bretton88

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 11:34 AM

The pods really don't look any more claustrophobic than a bunk on an Amtrak roomette. In fact, it looks like there's quite a bit more room than the top bunk on a Superliner.

It's regrettable that the reviewer failed to mention Amtrak... but this service has one *huge* advantage over the Coast Starlight: the schedule.

The Coast Starlight is timed out to give passengers a fantastic view. That's great if the journey to your destination is part of the trip, but it's less than ideal if you just want to go somewhere for a one-day meeting or a quick weekend trip.

This bus departs one city at 11pm and arrives at the other at 7am. That's the perfect schedule for a one-day/weekend trip because it avoids the traffic in LA & SF, allows passengers a good amount of sleep, and doesn't "waste" a day in transit.

California could do something similar, but it's not a priority right now. There's been talk in the past of doing an overnight LA - SF San Joaquin run if the state could find a way to get passenger service over Tehachapi.

LOSSAN has discussed a sleeper train in the past for the LA-SF route. Just the logistics are much harder to set up a night train (hello UP).

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#35 Blackwolf

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 11:43 AM

LOSSAN has discussed a sleeper train in the past for the LA-SF route. Just the logistics are much harder to set up a night train (hello UP).
 

Indeed.  When the Spirit of California was cancelled in the early 80's, the traveling public lost what will likely be the last shot of having an overnight State-supported train in California.  Unless two consistent slots become available over Tehachapi -and- the costs associated with running two separate trains scheduled with a 7-hour run north and south are realistic (station staff, OBS, operating crews, equipment availability) I just don't think it is going to happen.

 

Especially in the face of CAHSR.

 

And if it did materialize, it'd be coach only.  The chance of having sleepers is measured at absolute zero.


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#36 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 11:53 AM

Couldn't they run an overnight on the CS route instead of via Bakersfield? 


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#37 railiner

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 02:36 PM

 

Nice idea.... but I don't believe Amtrak has any difficulty in selling out the sleeper space that they have...

 

I've yet to see a single Amtrak train with every sleeper compartment sold out for the entire run. Maybe the Auto-train is like that but not the routes I ride.  The assumption that Amtrak sleepers sell out does not appear to be based on selling all or even most of the available compartment miles. Instead it seems to be based on the inability to book a sunset joyride from one end of the line to the other. Most Amtrak routes I ride have some busy sections that sell out and dead sections that are wide open.  I'd imagine having coach mock-ups could help a lot as well.  If people saw how big the seats and pitch were they might feel a lot more comfortable about riding Amtrak in the future.  A lot of the hesitation I see comes from aversion to new experiences combined with not knowing what to expect, just like your own posts in this thread about new an unusual bus services.

 

For many years, railroads, including Amtrak, often hosted "family day's" or other open-house equipment displays at various station's across the system....

That would be the best way to show the public what train travel offers....sadly, it seems to have disappeared in recent years....

 

Don't get me wrong....I always applaud new ideas in transportation, and wish the Cabin operator's success in their operation....perhaps you are right...I should experience it in person, before passing judgement from a couple of photo's.

 

I especially like the business model of the Vonlane operation in Texas....that to me is the best bus ride product currently offered...


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#38 Blackwolf

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 03:17 PM

Couldn't they run an overnight on the CS route instead of via Bakersfield?

Yes, they certainly could.  Except that they would likely never get the 7-hour run on the Coast Subdivision.  That, and a good chunk of the line is non-CTC with hand-thrown switches and speed restrictions.  UP will (and has in the past) demand a very expensive price tag for upgrades before allowing any more trains on this route.  FWIW, the former California overnight train ran this route (there is a whole thread on the topic here.) 

 

I would be very surprised (and happy) for this to come to fruition, and maybe there is a slim but real chance it will.  In terms of overnight "sleeper" service between LA<->SF I think that Cabin will have the market cornered pretty solidly.  Neither Amtrak or California has any interest.


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#39 calwatch

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 01:27 AM

The Greyhound/Megabus/Bolt group does overnight buses with less comfort and regularly sell out on weekends and holidays. Some of those riders may want a better option than sleeping in a seat like they did in college. I will probably try this for 4 or 5 PM start Cal football games when I don't want or need to overnight in Berkeley. Unfortunately it leaves too early for the 7:30 PM starts that the Pac 12 has been giving us and I'm too old to be sitting in a chair for seven hours trying to sleep, so usually after hanging out with friends I'll take a late BART out to the suburbs for a cheaper hotel room, if I'm not staying with them. 






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