ABOUT PHOTO: Gary and Jennifer Buffo did not want to stand by and see commuters in their area stranded.
SUMMARY: Gary and Jennifer Buffo get local media coverage for using a shuttle bus to handle a San Francisco regional commuter route previously served by public transit.
PETALUMA, Calif. — The owners of PURE LUXURY TRANSPORTATION in this scenic Northern California town that borders world class wine country are applying a key business principle: Good will = positive publicity = better business.
After learning that a weekday commuter route that takes workers from Sonoma County into San Francisco would be abandoned by Golden Gate Transit on March 1, Gary and Jennifer Buffo stepped up to the curb and assigned their 31-passenger mini-bus to take over the route.
DETAILS OF PURE LUXURY COMMUTER SERVICE HERE
“It is more of what we can do for the community and get vehicles off the road instead of just making money . . . ” said Jennifer Buffo, COO of Pure Luxury, in an interview with LCT. “. . . With the hopes that if people have guests coming out of town and want a wine tour or need transportation, they will think of us.”
The newspaper and website publicity from providing the commuter service already has paid off, with Pure Luxury landing two big corporate accounts, Buffo said.
Pure Luxury’s Krystal Cutaway Ford F550 bus carries an average of 22-24 riders per day, with “step-on” pick-ups in the single digits. A round-trip commute from Sonoma into San Francisco costs $30 per day, or $325 per month per person. In San Francisco, where gasoline and parking costs far exceed national averages, such a commuter service provides excellent value for city-bound workers.
“Our bus is much nicer and our chauffeurs are friendlier than what the commuters had been used to,” Jennifer said. “Our bus route takes 20 minutes off the travel time since we don’t have as many stops along the way.”
The Buffos’ goal is to only break even, and they are not concerned about losing money on operational costs for now. “We wanted to do what we thought was right,” Jennifer said. “We’re in it for the long haul. We’ll have to go a year with not making money before we pull it.”
If the Pure Luxury commuter service gains momentum, the Buffos will consider adding routes that start in nearby Petaluma and Santa Rosa.
PURE LUXURY TRANSPORTATION has 63 chauffeured vehicles in its fleet, ranging from sedans to small buses. Founder and CEO Gary Buffo also serves on the boards of directors of the National Limousine Association and the Greater California Livery Association.
Sources: Martin Romjue, LCT editor; Sonoma.Patch.com