SuperShuttle, those signature blue vans that defined airport ridesharing in 1983 is calling it quits for good.
What is SuperShuttle?
SuperShuttle began in Los Angeles in 1983 when founder Mitch Rouse couldn’t fit his friends, baggage and ski gear couldn’t fit into a taxi cab. Necessity is the mother of invention so Mitch created the airport shared-ride van concept.
The iconic blue vans could be seen all over the Los Angeles area using the concept of shared-ride vans where two or three parties in a nearby pickup or dropoff area would ride together for a lesser rate.
In addition to the blue vans, SuperShuttle also operated a dedicated-ride division known as Black Cars (later renamed to Execucar). This division used black sedans and SUVs to transport customers to/from a single address.
What Happened to SuperShuttle?
Call it progress, competition or change of transportation options, they all took a toll on SuperShuttle. Lyft and Uber undercut Black Car rates with dedicated single-stop service. As the popularity of Lyft and Uber gained momentum and the use of a handy app, sales on the SuperShuttle side declined as well.
To be fair, Los Angeles Worlds Airports who operate the FlyAway buses to the Valley destinations is also facing a decline in ridership. Here is the statement from Los Angeles World Airports on the SuperShuttle closing:
Over the last three years, shared-ride operators lost two-thirds of their business with bus passengers on the FlyAway buses declining by the same amount. In the same time period, the number of rides using Lyft and Uber has more than doubled. It is clear to see that passengers have had a shift in preference to airport transportation.
Recently, Los Aneles International Airport has moved Lyft, Uber and taxi pickup points away from the terminals to ease traffic congestion on the arrival level. They allowed SuperShuttle to keep their terminal pickup locations but that was too little and too late to save SuperShuttle.
Service Has Already Ceased At Many Airports
In it’s prime, SuperShuttle had expanded across the U.S. to Latin America, Canada, Europe and Asia. The decline which began recently has seen service cut at Burbank (BUR), Sacramento (SMF), Phoenix (PHX), Baltimore (BWI), Minneapolis (MSP) and others. The final ride will go out on December 31, 2019.
The SuperShuttle website is still up and accepting reservations through December 31,2019. I priced a four-mile trip on December 24th and here are the results:
- SuperShuttle shared-ride was priced at $22.00
- Execucar dedicated-ride was priced at $50.00
In my opinion, these prices are too high for me to pay for a 10-minute ride on streets with very little traffic.
My Take On SuperShuttle’s Closing
I used to live near Los Angeles International Airport and those blue vans were everywhere. SuperShuttle used to be the best option to taking a taxi to and from the airport.
I have always said that consumers vote with their wallets. The SuperShuttle business model was great in 1983 but is obsolete by today’s standards. Finally, people’s preferences for point-to-point transportation has changed over the past three years. The tribe has spoken and SuperShuttle is out.