It’s no understatement to claim that Cory Althoff’s new late-night transportation service – Midnight Express – happened overnight.
Just before Christmas, Althoff, a Los Altos resident, was joking with his buddies about the lack of affordable transportation options for returning home to the South Bay from a night on the town in San Francisco. Their banter resulted in the new transportation service.
Althoff and co-founder Michael Horton of Santa Clara were miffed by the expense of private taxis and other car-sharing services that required them to hand over at least $100 to get home. Like many other young professionals in the area, the duo wanted to enjoy the San Francisco nightlife without the nightmare of parking and late-night commutes after public trains stop running for the evening.
Within 10 days of planting the seeds for a shuttle, Midnight Express was ready for business – bus services booked, website launched and seats ready for riders.
Off to a quick start
Although some of Altoff’s millennial-generation friends were a bit reticent to get on board with his idea at first, the one-way shuttle service quickly gained traction. When local television stations and media discovered the service, emails and letters of support came streaming in. Each 56-seat bus has sold out since Midnight Express took its first ride Dec. 19.
With ticket prices at $15 in advance, the Friday-night shuttle service is a comparatively affordable and convenient ride home. Riders board the Midnight Express at the San Francisco Caltrain station at 2:15 a.m. and cruise – hands-free – down Highway 101 to final drop-offs at the Palo Alto, San Antonio, Mountain View and San Jose Caltrain stations.
On a roll
Despite being a late-night shuttle, Althoff said Midnight Express is not a party bus. Many of the shuttle’s first riders have been Stanford University students and people who were in San Francisco to attend the symphony.
“People on the bus have been very mellow,” said Althoff of the crowd the service is attracting.
Looking ahead, Althoff said he would like to expand Midnight Express to include additional drop-offs in the South Bay. A contest to select the shuttle service’s next location is underway on Facebook.
In a bit of a surprise to Althoff, the Midnight Express team is fielding phone calls from potential partner organizations, including the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce. Prospective partners believe that the Midnight Express shuttle fills a transportation gap and connects people who want to live in the South Bay with amenities that attract them to the area.
“It’s great to see that other people like what we’re doing,” Althoff said. “It’s a really positive thing for cities in the South Bay.”
For more information, visit midnightexpress.io.