There is a real need for comfortable, safe and green ground transportation, not a silly press release.
Elon Musk hates buses, and worries about serial killers. TreeHugger Katherine tried to do the green thing and now she hates buses, writing that "this whole unpleasant experience has been a source of fascination to me, mainly because it proves a sad point – that nobody wants to take ground transportation because it’s so crummy."
But it doesn't have to be this way. We have seen what Cabin is doing with an overnight bus between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and now Simba, a British mattress-in-a-box company, is proposing a sleeper bus for eight UK routes.
But compared to Cabin, which follows a single fixed route for people who might otherwise be flying, the so-called Snoozeliner would operate differently. James Cox, CEO of Simba, is quoted in the Independent:
Shift working and nights out are real sleep thieves that can rack up a serious slumber-debt over time. For workers and party-goers alike – the prospect of walking straight into your bed as soon as you’ve finished is the dream, but for many it can involve a lengthy commute home when you’re shattered or a bit worse for wear. We’re always looking at how we can use our technology to redefine an existing experience. The Snoozeliner service is all about helping people top up some valuable lost sleep time in a design that’s every bit as comfortable as their bed at home.
In the local Metro paper, they are excited about this. "Imagine being able to hop on a calm, clean bus and actually catch 40 winks on your way home – safe in the knowledge that no vomit, beer or creepy guys are going to ambush you." They see it as a way to get home after drunken Christmas parties. But it sounds to me like the Snoozeliner is exactly where you will find the drunk creepy guy; that's who they appear to be catering to.
The Snoozeliner, designed by Andersson-Wood architects (in four months!), is full of features like amber light therapy, soothing aromatherapy "recognized for their sleep-inducing or hangover-busting properties" and sanitized shoe drawers. There is a "striking vertical forest integrating air purifying and calming plants." There is "revolutionary software" that tells stewards when to wake up sleeping passengers and, get this, WiFi and USB chargers. But most importantly,
The buses will be fitted throughout with the brand's pioneering pillow, duvet and mattress technology, which features a unique fusion of 2,500 patented conical springs and responsive memory foam layers that each provide comfort, support and heat regulation.
Really, this whole Snoozeliner is one big free ad for Simba, and the Independent is basically running a press release.
And it is a shame, because the overnight sleeper bus is a very good idea. I have not had as bad an experience as Katherine did going to New York by bus, but the train takes up a whole day. (When I did it, it was the worst border experience I have had anywhere, but that apparently was abnormal.) When you fly to New York you have to face the worst airports west of Lagos. Just yesterday I got home after spending two nights and a day on the Hartford airport strip waiting for a plane home, thanks to a little bit of snow. I would have preferred the bus to the airport strip motels.
Dependable, comfortable and affordable overnight sleeper buses would make a great deal of sense for many trips. And they don't need aromatherapy or vertical forests.