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Commuting to the South Bay on the Company Shuttle

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Commute on company bus (Apple, Google, Yahoo)

Nov 2012

I've searched the archives and can't find much info on what it's like to commute on one of the shuttles to Silicon Valley (specifically Apple, Google or Yahoo). My husband recently interviewed with one of those companies and would likely be commuting on their shuttle. We live close to one of the pickup points so he wouldn't have to drive to get there. Oh and we've got 2 small children (1 and 3 years old). Do people find the commute fairly easy? Is it possible to take a later shuttle in and early shuttle back, and actually work on the bus? How much did it change your family life if you previously had a shorter commute (say 40 min door-to- door). Do you have recommendations that would make it easier on the commuter or family? Thanks! want to stay in the East Bay as long as possible


After years of commuting into SF from the east bay a few years ago my husband started at one of those companies you mentioned. At first he drove every day thinking it would be better/more flexible than taking a shuttle(we had a Prius with the carpool stickers). After a few months we were without a second car for a few days so he was forced to take the shuttle. He's never turned back. It is SO much better for him. Gives him an extra 2-3 hours of work each day which means he doesn't have to do so much when he does get home (he chooses to work but some people sleep/relax). Yes, it's a long commute and a long day, but for him/us it's well worth it. There are a number of shuttles each morning and about 10 each afternoon/night (leaving Mt. View anywhere between 4pm and 8pm). Sometimes he takes a shuttle into the city and then BARTS home from there. Lots of options. Also, once your husband has established his work routine he might be able to negotiate a one day a week work from home or out of an SF office. Another option is to occasionally go down to his workplace for their free and yummy lunches (maybe not so appealing with your young kids -- mine is a teen). The only downside for me personally is that we don't live near a drop off location so I drive him to/from the shuttles. I wouldn't consider leaving the east bay but I might consider moving closer to a shuttle drop. Good luck! Love the GBus
Our situation is very similar to yours. My husband works at Apple and we live near Ashby BART which is one of the bus stops. We also have 2 small children, 3 years and 8 months. Prior to Apple, he had a very short commute, to Alameda.

The commute itself is not as bad as I feared it would be. He gets lots of work done on the bus. He takes the 8:15am bus in the morning and either a 4:00 or 5:00 bus home. It does sometimes seem to make scheduling meetings difficult and he ends up having to call into meetings which is a bit challenging or he has to take an early/late bus. But, he has A LOT of meetings -- almost all day every day. So, that might not matter as much depending on your husband's job description. Overall, most days he leaves just before 8 and is home between 5:45 and 6:45, which doesn't seem that different than a lot of jobs, even ones with short commutes.

Before he took the job, he asked to see the shuttle schedule so he could see what his options would be. It turns out, though, that it makes a little more sense for him to hop in the car and get on the bus at a park and ride in Alameda rather than at Ashby. Even though it seems silly, it buys us about 10-15 minutes in the morning (so he can eat with the family) and then he can get home faster than having to go to two more stops with the bus in the evening.

This job has changed our family life enormously for the worse, but that has to do with the terrible work/life balance (compared to a very flexible prior job). Some days I feel like a single parent. I can't really blame the commute though, since he works the entire time he's on the bus and works through the evening at home! Good Luck, Not leaving the east bay


A couple comments: if you live near the shuttle pickup, that makes a big difference. I have to drive about 20 minutes to mine and can get stuck in traffic.

If he can ask to see a copy of the schedules before he accepts the job offer, it can be very helpful to get a real sense of what his day will look like. And plan to tack on extra time for the ride at least a few days a month when there's a bad accident or weather.

At my company, the shuttles are speedier if you work in a building that's the first dropoff and last pickup on the route so you don't have to spend 15 minutes riding around campus. My team recently moved to a different campus with a greatly reduced shuttle schedule with only one a day for the East Bay now. So that's a bummer -- it doesn't get home until 7 and I have a new baby, so it's not an option. Also, the rides are faster if you take a late shuttle down (like 9:30 a.m. or later) and a really late one home (after 7 p.m.). If you do normal commute hours, the ride can be 1.25 - 2 hours each way.

Can't comment on the other two companies, but yes, at mine, it's definitely possible to get work done on the shuttle. If you're not prone to carsickness and you don't mind an airplane-like environment in terms of personal space, you can get a lot done without distraction. How acceptable it is to spend a good chunk of your work day on the bus rather than in the office will depend on the specific team and the company.

The shuttles can be a great advantage and they're a total luxury, but after 2+ years of riding one and 6+ years of living in the EB and working in the Peninsula/Silicon Valley, I'd personally prefer to just work close to home or at home, and not spend so much time in traffic, whether I'm driving or not. Good luck! extreme commuter


I'll be very interested in the responses to your question! In fact, I was just about to write a post very similar to yours, since my husband may also accept a job with one of these firms. If you'd like to discuss the possibility of a carpool, please contact me. Life in the HOV lane
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