Customers use a free smartphone app to access a network of drivers who use their own private car to take passengers to their destinations
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Tower Tours treats tourists to an all-day seaside escape, ferrying marine rubberneckers across the Pacific Coast Highway's scenic beachscapes and salt-sprayed hamlets. At the outset of the 11-hour tour, wanderlusters weigh anchor at Tower's base camp at Ghirardelli Square before rolling toward Monterey's seaside wharves and avenues. They'll then embark on an undersea ramble in the well-kept waterways of the Monterey Aquarium, which will be offered at an extra discounted price, or catch paperbacks falling from John Steinbeck–shaped piñatas during one of Cannery Row's lively street fairs.
Even before you climb inside, the GoCar is clearly a car with a personality. The petite, three-wheeled two-seater has a hood that slightly resembles an eager-to-please smiley face, and an open top that seems custom-made for letting the breeze ruffle your hair. Then the real fun begins: built with the company's own software and a compassion for the voiceless robots of America, a talking GPS system guides two-seater GoCars through the city streets of San Francisco, San Diego, Miami, Barcelona, Madrid, and Lisbon with cheerful, info-rich narration. Second only to having a knowledgeable local jog alongside your minivan, tours zip along at drivers' own pace and accommodate as many pit stops as time allows.
Members of City Carshare, the company reports on its website, drive 50% less than individual car owners, annually saving more than 20 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. This is exactly what the local nonprofit had in mind in 2001 when they opened more than 200 Bay Area lots full of fuel-efficient, alternative-fuel, and electric cars and sleighs pulled by Virginia creeper. These vehicles are the linchpin in their two-fold social commitment to creating healthy urban spaces and strong communities.
The first part of that is relatively straightforward: fewer cars on the road mean less congestion and smog and reduced demand for parking lots that could be transformed into parks that grow into concrete jungles. The company defrays the high monetary costs of car ownership by providing insurance coverage, 24-hour roadside assistance, and all the fuel your vehicle needs to get on the road. To foster a sense of community, they hook members up with a private ride-sharing program and entice them to explore the city via their key fob, which unlocks perks at other local businesses. Their mission is backed by a global network of transportation visionaries in the international CarSharing Association, of which City Carshare is a founding member.
For Pioneer Limousines, the lap of luxury comes with a seat belt. The transportation outfit whisks away passengers within the comfortable confines of a fleet of vehicles, that includes a Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series, Lincoln Town Car L-Series, and a stretch limo that can seat up to nine passengers. Piloting the regal rides and participating in an Earth-sized game of connect the dots, chauffeurs get customers from point A to point B via transport services that cater to airport travelers, wedding parties, and group outings.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) brings together some of the great art and artists of the modern age through a variety of exhibitions, talks, and other programming. The 75-year-old institution's permanent collection of more than 26,000 works of art allows it to provide guests with a rich variety of disparate exhibitions, such as "Calder to Warhol: Introducing the Fisher Collection,". This exhibition invites museum-goers to make the acquaintance of more than 160 pieces—including works by Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein, Cy Twombly, and others—drawn from a larger collection that SFMOMA will house and display through a partnership with Doris and Donald Fisher, who founded Gap. The collection will not be on public view again until the expanded Museum reopens in 2016. "New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape," provides a frank and sometimes bleak look at the landscape as reinvented by human hands, and "Prints by Paul Klee (1946)," is a re-staging of a show first held at the museum just after World War II. Weekly Curator Talks, including Peter Samis' upcoming discussion of Sigmar Polke's "Untitled (Magician)," augment the material on view throughout the museum by spotlighting individual artists and works.
The drivers of SF Limo Zone canvas the streets of San Francisco, dropping off passengers on time with a professional touch that they've honed over nearly a decade. The company's fleet includes plush stretch limousines as well as more practical vehicles that don't skimp on luxuriousness, such as Lincoln town cars, Mercedes S550s, and Cadillac Escalades. The company can also outfit groups with passenger vans that seat up to 14 colleagues or a folk band found hitchhiking on the highway. With their range of vehicles, Willy Limos' fleet can handle a full spread of professional and recreational services, from winery tours to airport transfers.
Robin Hood Limousine’s highly trained drivers are well acquainted with the winding roads of Napa and Sonoma Valley. After all, they’ve been navigating their classic Lincoln stretch limos through them for years on guided tours of the region’s more than 300 local vineyards and wineries. The expert drivers can design custom wine-tasting itineraries for these trips, drawing from their familiarity with the local area to pick out ideal spots and avoid all troll-guarded bridges. They also extend their chauffer services for a variety of special events, shuttling their limos and specialty cars to airports, weddings, and proms throughout Northern California. During these luxury jaunts, six to nine guests enjoy amenities such as televisions and cushy leather seats.
California Parking has offered sanctuary to vehicles since 1954, today presenting them with 40 parking garages downtown and around the Bay Area. Many of the facilities grant easy access to destinations such as the Marina district, downtown, the Civic Center, and the recently drained San Francisco Bay, allowing visitors to shop and explore secure in the knowledge that their car is in the hands of professional buggysitters. The parking authority also has more than 20 valet-service locations for private parties, hotels, and restaurants.
The vibe inside this narrow, bustling San Francisco scooter shop is genuinely heartfelt – owner Barry Gwin and his small staff proudly stand behind their product’s stylish practicality and, above all, fun as a method of urban transport. The shop sells new Genuine and Sachs-brand scooters and provides expert service and used sales for all brands, including Bajaj, Vespa and Lambretta. Tune-ups, cable changes and brake repair services can be done quickly; dog loving scooter riders may opt to mingle with Buster, the shop’s beloved English bulldog, while they wait. Everyone else can check out Gwin’s collection of vintage Lambrettas in an upstairs showroom, a collection that began for him in high school.
Born out of a frustration at public transit and a missed plane ride, InstantCab connects both San Francisco cab drivers and a carefully vetted group of community drivers to ride-seekers through its iPhone and Android app. The fare is the same and the standard San Francisco taxi fare, and all drivers undergo thorough background checks, participate in training, and drive newly minted cars—2005 models or later, allowing customers to feel safe and comfortable during their trip.
With Wheelz’s network, car owners can list their rides for prospective renters to borrow for shopping, travel, and other transportation needs. Owners benefit by making money during periods their car would normally sit idle, and renters benefit by gaining access to convenient transportation and not having to hitchhike in the arms of a passing soccer team. Wheelz installs all of the necessary network equipment at no extra charge, and backs its clients with additional benefits such as keyless entry, instant online reservation, and a $1 Million insurance policy.
Consistently considered one of America’s best cycling shops, this Cole Valley/Upper Haight mainstay is perfectly suited for getting a set of wheels tuned up to cruise around Golden Gate Park, which is (thankfully) just downhill. A neighborhood presence since racer Oscar Juner opened it in 1941, American Cyclery stocks the full spectrum of bikes, from Bianchi road racers to fixed-gear street rides, all spiffed up and shiny beneath black-and-white pictures of the founder’s glory days. Unpretentious and ever-helpful, American Cyclery might smell a bit like spent grease but its efforts to install a public parklet out front and a plaza in the vacant lot next door reveal its commitment to a safe, clean city. Complete with lots of bicycles, of course.
EagleRider rented out its first Harley-Davidson in 1992. Since then, its franchises have sprouted all across the world—including Dubai, Madrid, and New Zealand—and its selection of rental vehicles has expanded to include Honda, BMW, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha motorcycles, as well as ATVs, dirt bikes, scooters, snowmobiles, and jet skis. However, the focus is still on motorcycles, as evidenced by EagleRider’s slew of self-guided and guided motorcycle tours, such as the 15-day Easy Rider-inspired tour from Los Angeles to New Orleans and the 10,890-day tour from Chicago to Mars.
The neatly trimmed hedges at the entrance to Addiction Salon, and the contemporary artwork within, demonstrate that this is indeed the place to go for superb styling; it is on Alabama Street in the middle of the high-tech live/work quadrant, after all. But pleasing aesthetics – and free cappuccino -- aren’t necessarily why people choose a salon. They go to find an enterprising look, and in that department, Addiction is always ahead of the curve. Whether it’s a simple trim, full highlights or a Brazilian blowout, this is a place you’ll find yourself coming back to again and again, as if it were in fact addictive.
Sleek vehicles zip through Napa Valley, ferrying passengers from one wine tasting to another. Festively clad teens pile into limousines on their way to senior or junior prom. Drivers hoist suitcases into waiting rides before transporting travelers on the first leg of a journey. Such are the services of World Class Limo, Inc.'s drivers and their corresponding vehicles, which range from classic limos to SUVs. They glide along the roads of greater San Francisco, safely guiding passengers to their destinations in style.