by Sam Levin
Starting next week, San Francisco and Oakland residents who want to stay out past the last BART train on Friday and Saturday nights will have a new way to get across the bay. A startup called Night School is officially launching its service on Friday, May 23 — offering off-duty school buses from midnight to 4 a.m. that will shuttle passengers between the Mission District in San Francisco and Uptown Oakland.
Here's how it works: Riders will pay monthly memberships for unlimited access to the weekend buses, which will stop at Valencia and 18th Street in San Francisco and Telegraph Avenue and 17th Street in Oakland. A mobile app shows members when the next bus is arriving with real-time tracking.
Currently, Night School has a limited offer rate of one month of rides for $10 which folks can access by downloading the app. Night School is not licensed to accept payments on a per-ride basis, though the company says on its website that this will change soon.
After the $10 kickoff deal expires, riders will pay $19 per month to access the service. Each bus has a driver and a Night School "conductor" who will supervise the boarding process and "maintain a comfortable and safe environment for all riders." No drinking on the bus! The app tracks the bus and also connects with the conductor via Bluetooth to expedite boarding. Seating is first come, first served.
Currently, AC Transit does operate the all-nighter 800 bus that runs from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. from Market Street and Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco to Richmond BART, with about a dozen stops along the way.
Night School plans to add more stops to its route in the future.
You can watch a video about the startup here. And here's a screengrab of the app: