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SuperShuttle San Francisco no longer reliable

I just returned from a trip to San Francisco. I had reserved a round trip on a shared-ride van from SFO on the SuperShuttle web site. On their very professional-appearing web site, you enter your arriving flight information, leading you to believe that a shuttle will be waiting for you and the other riders at approximately that time. This is not correct; another woman and I waited an hour at the airport for a van. The man who checked us in explained that the drivers--who were formerly all employees--are now independent (like Uber drivers), and they were probably all having dinner. If drivers don't check in--no vans. The number of vans is also greatly reduced from what they had a few years ago, and from what I heard that was a result of the Uber/Lyft phenomenon, but all of the drivers in the "gig economy" are struggling. The good news, particularly since I was the last off, was that the driver we got was a lovely man; he was from Bulgaria and had a degree in slavic languages, and as I had recently visited central Europe we had an interesting conversation. So, it took two hours from shuttle check-in for me to get from SFO to downtown, but I was in no hurry.

A week later, I awaited my scheduled pickup for the ride to the airport. I got a text message the day before reminding me, so they had my reservation. They give you a time range to be out and ready; mine was 9:35-9:50, and I was out there by 9:25. At 9:50, no shuttle, so I called. Prerecorded message, hold music, and finally customer service allegedly put me through to dispatch. Hold music. At 10:00 I hung up and called a cab, which was there in 5 minutes. I called them again, and they are refunding my money, but I never did find out what happened to that shuttle.

Posted by
6136 posts

I've used SuperShuttle from LAX and you do indeed have to wait until the shuttle "fills up" to make it worthwhile for the driver to carry as many folks as possible. They really don't want to be driving one person around, I can understand that. I also used them to pick me up from a suburb (destined for LAX) and the driver was very timely, so that was a very good experience. I think it's a toss up (traffic is always a factor, as is the time it takes to pick up other people) but I factor that into the price (still much cheaper than a cab).

Also, give BART a try next time. Totally accessible and faster from SFO Airport into town, no traffic to sit in either.

Posted by
2305 posts

Use Uber or Lyft. You can schedule ahead of time and you have a 15 minute window. Has been 100% reliable and I’ve used this function dozens of times. Yes, I know some on this board don’t like the business model but there is a reason they are succeeding in customer service and others are failing (like SuperShuttle).

Posted by
3216 posts

Thanks for the report.

I use Supper Shuttle a lot when visiting family. The operation in Houston, TX was purchased by Yellow Cab and has much improved since then. Nicer drivers, cleaner vehicles.

They are never ready at the scheduled pick up time either coming or going to the airport so that is something I take into account. I never make reservations in advance for the airport pickup because of this. I end up waiting nearly an hour no matter. I don't let them suggest a pickup time anymore based on when my flight is leaving and just tell them when I want to be picked up when returning to the airport.

Sometimes I do get picked up in a Yellow Cab and am the only passenger. I am not charged more for this when it happens even though if I booked a cab on my own it would be 4 times the cost of the shuttle. I have also noticed that a large percentage of their actual shuttles are now 5 passenger vehicles instead of the larger 9 passenger vans. Probably get better gas mileage and doesn't take as long to fill them up.

Posted by
5281 posts

To repeat the advice above, consider BART. Train from the airport (international terminal) to downtown SF, runs about every 20 minutes, quick ride, about $9.

Posted by
3131 posts

I've never been on a SuperShuttle that IS reliable. I avoid them everywhere.

Posted by
23366 posts

When I drove for Super Shuttle in the early 1980's I was always reliable. LA.

Posted by
3131 posts

Standards have clearly worsened since your tenure in the 80s. The SuperShuttle now is unreliable.

Posted by
261 posts

I've had similar experiences with them for shuttles from Washington National and Dulles. Long waits for the van to fill up and/or drivers to be "available." They were better for pick ups to the airport from home, but only slightly. I was a regular, I won't use them again.

Posted by
6740 posts

Yes, the drivers have to pay to be able to use the van and then hope to make their money back. It's become very bad for them.

Posted by
7123 posts

Thanks Michele, this is a helpful warning for others.

I agree with Alan, i’d use Uber or Lyft.