SuperShuttle is Shutting Down Because Uber is a Thing
This morning, I woke up to news that SuperShuttle — the well-known van service that carries passengers to and from numerous airports across the country — would be throwing in the towel before 2020 rolls around. According to reports, the last rides will take place on December 31st, while those with reservations beyond that date will apparently be automatically refunded. As a past user of the blue and yellow shuttles myself, I was momentarily surprised by the headline… until I gave it a couple seconds of thought.
It doesn’t take much imagination to guess the main culprit for SuperShuttle’s collapse: ride-sharing. In many cases, travelers can take an Uber or Lyft to/from the airport for a price that’s competitive with what the shuttle service would charge. Well, outside of times when the formers are engaging in surge pricing, at least. To that point, those who continued to use SuperShuttle even after the advent of Uber weren’t just the tech-illiterate Boomers some might assume them to be — they were those who appreciated upfront pricing and the comfort of knowing they’d already reserved their ride.
Personally, I counted myself among that group before making the switch from SuperShuttle to ride-sharing just a few years ago (I know, I’m a bad Millennial). Unfortunately for them, like many others, I realized that it was far more convenient and comfortable to get a ride directly from the airport to my hotel instead of waiting for six other people to get dropped off ahead of me. Sure, Uber might be a bit pricier in some situations, but 1) it was typically worth it and 2) there’s always Uber Pool if you really want to save money and get a tour of town as the people get dropped off.
To be fair to SuperShuttle, it’s actually not like they didn’t attempt to adapt to new technologies as they emerged. I remember being impressed by how the service would text me when I landed and provide me directions to where to catch my van — something I always found helpful. They also have their own app, though I can’t say I’ve ever used that.
Of course, all joking aside, it is sad that many will lose their jobs as a result of SuperShuttle’s closure. Moreover, as I learned from this L.A. Times article, some drivers actually own their own vans. On top of all that, one can’t help but sympathize that this news came just before Christmas and that so many employees will likely start off 2020 unemployed.
Ultimately, while many travelers may have moved on from SuperShuttle, it’s fair to say that they did offer a reasonably-priced service that helped those on a budget avoid high parking tolls and taxi fares. Heck, that’s exactly what led me to use them when setting off on some of the most memorable trips of my life. So, for that, I thank them.