Stuff I Don’t Like: Super Shuttle

On paper, the Super Shuttle is a great deal. For under twenty bucks you can get from LAX to a variety of locations, including Disneyland and surrounding hotels. (And vice versa, of course; with the proper reservation, Super Shuttle will even pick you up at your very own home and bring you right to your gate.) After paying the modest fee of sixeen dollars online, I was feeling quite secure that I’d make it to my Anaheim hotel in a timely manner last night.

And all signs were looking positive. Everyone I’d spoken to on the phone (for some reason my reservation wouldn’t complete online, so I had to make my purchase with the help of a real live person) was friendly and informative. I called ahead from Baltimore when I knew I’d be arriving late, and a very nice operator assured me that would be no problem. I followed the colored signs (after yet another call, because where I thought I should go turned out to be slightly wrong; this operator, while she sounded a little tired, was still nice and perfectly informative) and met up with the trip coordinator, who took down my confirmation number and pointed me at a van marked “Disneyland Express.”

Now, I thought I knew the meaning of the word express. I’ve used it often in my daily life. I feel comfortable using it. When I’m on a train running express to Forest Hills, for instance, I know that this means the train will not stop until it reaches Forest Hills. It means fast. It means non-stop. It means speedy.

But that is not what it means on the Disneyland Express. On this particular van, “express” apparently means “by way of Cypress and Fullerton.” It also means “I don’t really know where you’re going, but I have some kind of GPS system, so I’ll follow the directions it gives me, even if this means making random turns throughout the quiet suburbs of Los Angeles.”

Now, I am perfectly willing to cut this driver a little slack. Let’s face it: he has a pretty crappy job. He has to ferry people to and from the airport very late at night, conversing mostly in what is clearly not his first language, dealing with everyone from bitchy businessmen to whiny children. And I’m betting he doesn’t make a whole lot of money.

And really, I don’t blame him. This guy just picks up passengers at designated stops, entirely at the whim of various trip coordinators. He has to circle the airport filling up seats until someone tells him he can finally leave the maze of the LA airport terminals.

But I do blame the trip coordinators. Who thinks Disneyland Express should include a trip to Cypress? Who thinks that Fullerton and Tustin Beach are close enough to make the trip worthwhile for passengers headed to both locations? A professional transportation company should know that its passengers are savvy enough to know the distance from point A to point B, and quickly realize that a trip from LAX to Anaheim ordinarily takes at most forty-five minutes, not two hours.

And two hours in the morning or the afternoon or even the early evening wouldn’t be a huge deal. I’m a very patient traveler, and I can generally accept that certain things are simply beyond my control. But two hours that end at two thirty in the morning? Those are two completely wretched hours.

So, Super Shuttle, while I know you won’t miss me, you won’t be getting my sixteen dollars again.

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