I was walking home today, and had hoped to catch the free shuttle for half of the trip... but when I got to the stop, there was no line waiting. More suspiciously, the "shopper shuttle" sign was missing.
Figuring they just rearranged the stops, I kept walking. Nope. Each of the next three stops had no sign, no lines.
Got home, ranted some, then started googling. Absolutely *nothing*. No announcement, nothing in the local papers. The closest I could find was in the proposed 2003-5 Oakland budget:
Over the last six years of operation, the Broadway Shopper Shuttle has attempted to support shopping opportunities and restaurant patronage in downtown Oakland by providing a free mid-day shuttle that connects employment centers with retail outlets along the Broadway corridor. Due to the slow economy ridership has gone down during the last few months. In
December 2003 the average ridership was 1,100 per day. For several years, the service was primarily funded with one-time grants from the Bay Area Quality Management Agency Transportation Fund for Clean Air, Congestion Management Agency, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, University of California Office of the President, and private funding from Kaiser Permanente. Due to the expiration of the one-time grant monies and lack of continuous private support for this activity, the Redevelopment Agency has paid most of the program costs during the past four years. The program has been 95 percent funded by the Redevelopment Agency and the Port of Oakland. Caltrans has contributed the remaining five percent. The Redevelopment Agency recommends the termination of the Broadway Shopper Shuttle service due to lack of long term funding and strains on the Central District operating budget.
Silly me, I've been recommending the shuttle to friends and ex-coworkers, never suspecting it would disappear. Even the "mere" 1100 people per day seems like a good investment to me, given the area traffic.
So the next time you're in downtown Oakland, wanting to eat far from where you are, don't sit around waiting for the shuttle. I guess the moral is "eat nearby or wear comfy shoes, cuz there ain't no more free shuttle".