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Free shuttle to connect tech companies and downtown

 

Starting Jan. 12, new shuttles with green and blue logos will become a common sight during commute hours in Mountain View, ferrying employees of major tech companies to and from the downtown train station.

Though the 20-person shuttles will be free and available for public use, the MVgo shuttle service is not to be confused with the electric shuttles donated by Google that will run a loop around the city, which is also launching in January. Those shuttles are aimed at residents. The MVgo shuttle is aimed at commuters.

"It's obvious from the route and schedule design of MVgo that it's very well thought out, coordinated with Caltrain arrivals and departures, and should be extremely productive in serving "last mile" Caltrain ridership needs," said Mountain View resident and transit planner Cliff Chambers, who works on shuttle system design, but did not work on this particular system.

Chambers also praised the logo design. "It's the kind of effort I was hoping for the MV community shuttle ... I'm quite excited about MVgo, not so much about the community shuttle."

The service will be a consolidation of five separate employer shuttle systems. "Through this consolidation, approximately 12,000 shuttle vehicle miles are saved per year," said Denise Pinkston, chair of the board operating the system.

The biggest employers and office developers in the city are paying for the service, including Google and LinkedIn, thanks to a requirement placed on new office development by the Mountain View City Council.

The MVgo shuttles will run weekdays during commute hours on three routes that originate at the downtown train station. There will be 24 trips to North Bayshore between 6:38 a.m.and 10:20 a..m. and 12 trips to the Whisman area. Typical wait times range from 15 to 33 minutes for morning shuttles.

Two routes serve Google, Intuit and LinkedIn's North Bayshore (dividing the area north of Highway 101 into east and west routes) and a third route makes a loop around offices on Whisman Road, Middlefield Road and the area just east of Ellis Street where a new Samsung campus has been under construction. The shuttle will not run on major holidays and on weekends.

Perhaps fitting for their high tech industry the shuttles serve, there will be geo-locating devices on board each shuttle so rides can track shuttle using their smart phones. The gasoline powered shuttles are also equipped with bike racks and wheelchair lifts.

High school senior Jamar Pagpaguitan won a contest held by Mountain View's Community School of Music and Arts to come up with a logo for the shuttles that saw over 100 submissions. "My inspiration came from my own love and effort to draw and knowing it would be shown all over Mountain View," he reportedly said of the effort.

The companies running the MVgo shuttle have formed the Mountain View Transit Management Association (MTMA), a requirement of office development in Mountain View to run shared shuttles and find other ways to manage traffic congestion.

"Private companies in Mountain View are effectively collaborating and working in partnership with the city and local transit agencies to fill gaps in the local transportation network and allow people to travel to work car-free," said MTMA chair Denise Pinkston in a statement. "MTMA represents the first and only partnership that includes Valley employers (Google, LinkedIn, Intuit, and Samsung Research America) and Valley landowners (Broadreach Capital Partners, Sares Regis, the Sobrato Organization, and TMG Partners) working together to solve challenging traffic problems that face us all."

A similar shuttle service nearly came about in 2001. It included a lunchtime shuttle service between downtown and North Bayshore to bolster business for downtown restaurants, but a lack of interest and funding meant putting the whole idea on the back-burner.

For more information on the two shuttle systems launching next month, visit mvgo.org and mountainview.gov/depts/pw/community_shuttle.asp

Comments

1 person likes this
Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on Dec 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

I think this is going to be a great service. I'm really look forward to riding it myself.


1 person likes this
Posted by Bruce Karney
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm

The sentence "Typical wait times range from 15 to 33 minutes for morning shuttles." is almost certainly incorrect. If the shuttles are coordinated with the 13 northbound and 13 southbound trains that arrive between 6:30 and 10:30 AM, typical wait times to board will probably be just a few minutes. Perhaps the author meant that busses will leave the station every 15 to 33 minutes, which is a very different thing.

It would be nice to know how the number of seats on the new busses (20/bus x 36 departures/day = 720) compare to the number of seats currently available on the shuttles run by the various local companies. I hope it's a substantial increase over the status quo.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Waverly Park
on Dec 10, 2014 at 4:02 pm

I'm confused, is this a collaborative employee shuttle system to replace all those private busses? Or is this in addition to the private busses run by each company?

Why gas-powered instead of hybrid or electric?

Anything that gets people out of their solo-occupant cars is great. Apparently we have council to thank for mandating this?


Like this comment
Posted by Kathy Thibodeaux
a resident of Waverly Park
on Dec 10, 2014 at 5:26 pm

This is wonderful progress toward addressing the "last mile" issue, which will certainly lead more commuters to choose transit options over cars to get to work.

It is particularly gratifying to me that the TMA collaborated with a Mountain View-based non-profit, the Community School of Music and Arts, on the logo contest. Grassroots community engagement and collaboration in innovative efforts like this will help us to better tackle the challenges and opportunities in our region.

Kathy Thibodeaux
Board Chair, Community School of Music and Arts


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 10, 2014 at 5:34 pm

The shuttle time table looks completely unrealistic. There is no way you can get from Google's Crittenden buildings to the train station in 13 minutes with 5 stops between in 6pm traffic. That is a 30 min trip.

Have they not tried driving these routes???


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Blossom Valley

on Dec 10, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Like this comment
Posted by Nothing is free
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 11, 2014 at 2:38 am

Google is just trying to influence the council & city staff to approve as much office development as possible. Livability in our fair city is the true cost of "free".


Like this comment
Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Dec 11, 2014 at 9:17 pm

Jeremy Hoffman is a registered user.

You won't have to provide any shuttles for North Bayshore residents once we let property owners build housing there. :-)


Like this comment
Posted by Light Rail
a resident of North Whisman
on Dec 12, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Doesn't light rail already go from downtown to Ellis Street?
Is this designed to kill light rail?


Like this comment
Posted by Maher
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Dec 12, 2014 at 2:56 pm

I'm at a point where anything with "GOOGLE" attached to it raises suspicion and skepticism about hidden agenda and all sorts of strings attached to their "free" gifts to MV.
"Exploitive" intent somehow is a key word in all their dealings.


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