Would You Like to Buy a Bus For $5?

the muppets walter screaming

If there’s one thing San Francisco loves (or hates, depending on your point of view), it’s private public transportation.

There is, of course, the infamous Google Bus, and—as our sister site The Awl reported earlier this year—there’s the Leap bus:

The niceties of the six-dollar-per-ride Leap bus“finished [reclaimed!] wooden planks adorning the back wall”; “soft mood lighting”; local “Happy Moose Juice,” whatever the fuck that is; Blue Bottle coffee; Wi-Fi and USB ports; and bar stools—are only just beside the point, which is that its handful of buses complete a circuit “from the Financial District and the edge of Soma to the Marina” and run during “morning and evening rush hours.” This, Leap CEO Kyle Kirchhoff told Nitasha Tiku, complements San Francisco’s existing public transit system, Muni, by “handling some of the overflow.” In fact, he told her, Leap wants to be “the best way to interface with mass transit” and “help mass transit infrastructure expand.”

(I keep misreading that quote as “the best way to interfere with mass transit.” It’s automatic.)

But Leap clearly did not gauge the distance it would need to travel to help mass transit expand, and kinda fell on its face.

The San Francisco Examiner explains:

In May, California regulators issued a cease-and-desist order to the company for running without permits. The company immediately said in an announcement it would be “offline” for the week. But the service never returned, and now it seems the company has filed for bankruptcy.

It gets even better:

The bankruptcy only came to light as the website “West Auctions: Commercial Auctions and Asset Services,” advertised two buses in Leap transit colors for sale, replete with Leap’s logo.

The heading for the listing is “Bankruptcy Auction of Leap Transit, Inc with (2) NABI 27 passenger CNG Luxury Buses.”

Starting bids for these buses is $5.

If you visit the auction site, it looks like the current bid is still $5, but that’s only because the bidding does not officially start until October 6. It’ll probably go for a bit more than $5, right? I mean, the auction site is pretty clear about what you’re going to get here:

  • Leather passenger seats
  • Reclaimed wood walls
  • Marble concession counter
  • Display refrigerator
  • Flat screen TV
  • Tile floor

I would buy the bus just to remove the flat screen TV out of it.

The auction site also notes that neither bus actually starts; both units are “unresponsive.” (I’m picturing the Leap team holding spark plugs under their T-shirts like the Sound of Music nuns.)

Ideally, both of these buses should be converted into housing for people who are currently homeless. What will actually happen? I have no idea. UNLESS ONE OF YOU DECIDES TO BUY ONE OF THESE BUSES. Let us know if you do.



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