Davis Airporter comments from 2005-2007:
2005-12-30 02:16:27 I've been severely tail-gated by these wankers three times now. The worst time was when I was driving 65mph in a heavy rain storm at night in the slow lane in a 65mph zone on I-5 South between Woodland and SMF. The Davis Airporter van rushed up behind me as if the gas pedal was stuck, and then stayed a foot (at most) from my rear bumper for at least a couple of minutes until the fast lane was clear enough to pass. When the Davis Airporter driver finally passed me, their van came so close to my bumper that I'm surprised they didn't hit me. I don't care how late the passengers were - nothing gives them the right to directly and recklessly threaten my life. —GrahamFreeman
2006-11-21 22:55:09 I've used them quite a few times and they have been pretty reliable and accomodating (I've brought a bike box on a couple times). They do seem to make their confirmation calls at odd times, however. I just received a call at 10:50pm changing my pickup time by 5 minutes and requesting that I pay in cash. I would definitely recommend them, though. —ChrisSwinehart
2006-12-22 20:33:51 Not only do they make confirmation calls at odd hours, but they also make cancelation calls at odd hours — just 15 minutes before they were scheduled to pick me up, they called to say that there was no longer room for me in the van. I felt really screwed over and didn't appreciate their oversight at all! —DavisResident
2007-01-11 20:34:19 Supershuttle is only $1 more and in my experience is much more willing to pick you up when you want to be picked up rather than 3 hours beforehand. Also you don't need a reservation to get back home. Just go to the booth at the Sac airport. —JimEvans
2007-01-11 20:53:41 A few years ago, the Davis Airporter left us in SFO overnight: we arrived after 10 pm (flight was scheduled to arrive at 4 pm) and the Airporter folks told us we'd have to wait in the airport until they started running again around 6 am the next morning. Not sure if this is still their current policy. —BrianOmeara
2007-01-11 21:42:47 They're reliable, but as it says above, make your reservations in advance. I tried 8 hours in advance once and they were already too full. —CraigBrozinsky
2007-02-06 10:37:55 The Davis Airporter abandoned us at SFO! We were arriving at very late at night (12:30am). I made a reservation with confirmation code, etc…and clarified that we were getting in very late, they said “no problem”. We went to Jamaica and when we were switching planes in DC, I checked my messages. They left a message (8 days after I made my reservation) to say they will not be at SFO to pick us up. I called and they were very unapologetic, said they don’t have a driver at that hour, and there are no other shuttles. They said that they would pick us up 11:00am the next morning. This is probably the worst customer service I have ever received! Think twice before making a reservation with them! —AnneMeckstroth
2007-04-09 19:39:03 This is probably one of the best shuttle services in the sacramento area, they really "make it happen". This is your ticket to the airport with no hassle and at a low cost....YES!!! and the staff rocks. —JJstokes
2007-07-29 14:55:55 I've always had great service from the Airporter to SMF. They usually pick me up earlier than I would leave if I drove, but it's cheaper than parking at the airport. Occasionally they'll call and tell me they can pick me up at home later than my previously arranged time (which means I get more sleep that morning), but I've never had calls at odd hours or been canceled on at the last minute. They will usually accept credit cards except during holidays when they are very busy (and then they warned me when I made the reservation). —rachelss
2007-09-06 19:15:27 The airport service to/from SFO is very bad. You have to think twice before you take this service between Davis and SFO. Our family members had experienced several times in the last three months that they picked us up already at 8:00AM, but our flight at SFO airport starts only after 15:00PM, or we had to stay at SFO airport for nearly 3 hours to wait for another passenger who arrived at SFO 3 hours later than our flight, even though we booked the service 7 days before. Waiting makes you very tired, especially after more than 12 hours international flight.
If you told them to improve their service, they would tell you different excuses to shift the blame on you. If you book service long in advance enough, they would tell you they could not earn money or there is no driver available for your arriving time, if they just pick you alone up. You have no choice, but to wait for other passengers. You will give them the reason to blame you, if you don’t book them at least 7 days before. If you suggest that they should organize every more efficiently or employee more driver to attract more customers, they don’t care at all and just tell you that you could cancel your booking, since there is no competition for them in Davis at all.
If you can drive, better rent a car at SFO airport and drive back by yourself home. It is the easiest way, and you will have less trouble and anger with them. If you travel with your family members, to rent a car is obviously better. - Jenny
2007-09-20 22:13:45 These guys have the worst customer service. We made our reservation online about a day and a half before we were scheduled to leave. When we hadn't recieved a phone call by late the night before the trip, I called to ask about our reservation. They said that because we did not make it two days ahead, there was nothing they could do (even though according to their website, we were making it in plenty of time). When I told them this, they said it was not their problem. And the worst thing is, they weren't even going to inform us that they would not be honoring our reservation. I would not recommend them at all—go with super shuttle instead—they are much more professional. —Kit
2007-09-20 22:58:36 I have had great service frm this company. I will definitely use them again for rides to the airport. —customer
2007-11-06 14:20:00 The service to Sacramento Airport is very reliable and fairly frequent. Davis Airporter does combine riders together in the van so they will be picking up and dropping off other passengers. Where you are being picked up or dropped off determines the pick up and drop off order.
The service to SFO is less frequent so you may have to go to SFO earlier than you would like or you may have to wait for other arriving passengers at SFO airport before the van departs. You will generally never have to wait more than an hour at SFO before the van leaves. Sometimes you get lucky and the van leaves right away after you get on. If you are arriving at SFO after a long overseas flight, remember that you will be tired and it will take a while to get home. On weekday afternoons you will experience the horrendous Bay Area rush hour traffic, so you need to be patient.
I always try to fly in and out of SMF instead of SFO because of the travel time and traffic between Davis and SFO. —TurboCat
2007-11-08 01:13:52 Wow, where to begin? I have been driving for the Davis Airporter since 1997, fifteen years now. First of all, I have seen periods of customer service greatness, and periods where we flat-out stunk. Right now, we are about at an 8 (10 being greatness). And for those who say "just take Super Shuttle", I'll say that they're a fine company, but have just as many detractors as we have, probably more. I am not here to minimize the thoughts of those who have made negative comments here, but it's clear from perusing DavisWiki that those with grievances, valid or not, are the most likely to post their thoughts online, so they should not be taken as a representative sample, or as a true reflection of the company(s) being talked about. Alright, on with the show....
After reading the comments here, I feel obligated and qualified to give my experienced side of the story. I guess I'll start with the most severe and work from there.
1. Pickups to/from Sacramento Airport: We never, ever, call someone to tell them they don't have a ride to the airport. If we have overbooked a van, which is rare, and if another van can't make the pickup in a reasonable amount of time, we call a cab to make the pickup. The customer pays the cab our regular fare of $23, and we pay the cab company the difference. Not what the customer had in mind, and it doesn't make us look particularly good, but sometimes it's necessary.
2. AnneMeckstroth above tells of being stranded at SFO, and I don't have a valid excuse for this one. A new reservation agent gave incorrect information, and our policy provides for a refund. That's probably small consolation for Anne when she simply wanted to get home on time, but it's true, we don't pick up after midnight at SFO. Anne should have been given a full refund, and hopefully she was. And Anne, if you haven't, call and ask to talk to the manager.
3. BrianOmeara has a similar story, with the difference that his plane was 6 hours late. We do track the status of everyone's flight, and make the appropriate adjustments. However, this is where passenger anger should be directed at the airline involved. We literally bend over backwards to accommodate delayed passengers, sometimes at the expense of our customers who arrive on time. When I get a complaint about waiting for a delayed passenger, I stress that the next time, "it might be you we're waiting for".
If we have a van at SFO anywhere near your delayed arrival time, we will hold the van for you, unless the passengers already on board have been on board for 45 minutes. If this is the case, and if your delayed plane arrives after 8:00PM, you MIGHT have to wait until the next morning for our service, though our last van usually leaves SFO between 9:00PM and 11:00PM. First van usually arrives by 6:00-6:30AM, though it might be as early as 5:30AM and as late as 10:00AM.
4. Late confirmation calls: On rare occasions, an early-morning driver will call in sick. In this case, the schedule needs to be rearranged at night, and the change-in-pickup-time call will come late. This is an extreme rarity—confirmation calls start around 4:00PM, and can go as late as 8:00PM.
5. For Sacramento Airport—The reservation agents automatically set Davis pickup times one hour before your desired arrival time at the airport. There are a few reasons for this, and a few ways around it. There is the possibility that you will be the first of four or five pickups. This is why we allow an hour from Davis to Sacramento Airport, though it rarely takes that long. The way around it is to tell the reservation agent to make a note that you would rather be picked up later. Then, the night before your pickup, when the next day's pickups are assigned to drivers, your pickup will be moved later if a) You are the only pickup, or one of two. b) If it doesn't interfere with pickups being made at the airport, and c) If the driver has ample turnaround time for his/her next run. And please feel free to call the evening before your pickup and ask if a later pickup is possible. We sometimes get late cancellations, which often make for possibilities that didn't exist just hours before. If you do call the night before, do it after 11:30 pm. The graveyard agent starts his shift at this time, and he doesn't have as many immediate concerns on his plate as the evening crew, who often don't have the time to properly look at the next day's schedule to see if they can adjust it for you. The overnight guy has been there for years, and will make adjustments for you if it is possible.
For San Francisco Airport—We set Davis pickup times 2 1/2 hours before your desired arrival time at SFO, unless you call on short notice, as in 1-4 days before your flight. In this case, those who reserved first take precedence—your reservation will be built around what is already there, and you may have to be picked up a few hours earlier than you would have liked. Let's say you have a flight at SFO at 3:00PM, and you request to arrive by 12:00PM. Ideally, we would set you up with an 9:30AM reservation. However, if another passenger in Davis has already booked an 8:00AM or 8:30AM pickup, we generally won't book a new van at 9:30. If you are given a pickup time that doesn't suit you, ask what time the next van after the one we offered is leaving for SFO. We will book you on the later one only with the understanding that if you miss your flight, it isn't our responsibility. Bay Area traffic from 11:00AM to 2:00PM is generally light, and you'll PROBABLY be OK, but one stall on the Bay Bridge can ruin that plan. We have learned this the hard way.
6. Online reservations: Was one of our weak spots. Internet reservations should to be made at least 24 hours in advance for Sacramento Airport. While our website's reservation page is computer-generated, the email you receive from the Davis Airporter is handled by a person. If you make an online reservation the same day you travel, there's a small chance that it won't be processed in time. Best advice—If you need to make a short-notice reservation, call our office, which is manned 24/7.
7. "JimEvans above writes that with Super Shuttle, "you don't need a reservation to get back home. Just go to the booth at the Sac airport." This is true, but it's also true with us. We take walk-ons whenever there is room, which is 90% of the time. We do need money like any other company, so we're not about to turn anyone down if there's room, and if it doesn't make the driver late for his next pickup.
8. Advice to customers:
For Sacramento Airport arrivals:
a) If your flight into Sacramento Airport is delayed, we have excellent flexibility. That does not mean that we can automatically secure a new driver to be there when your delayed flight lands, but we do have several options. The first is to see if any of our drivers will be at the airport near your new arrival time. If it's within 15 minutes of the pickups that driver is already scheduled to make, we will assign that driver to you. However, we will not hold that driver's on-time passengers on the van for any more than 15 minutes for Sacramento Airport. If it appears that you will have to wait more than an hour, we will send one of our office workers to SMF to pick you up, which is usually do-able (75% of the time). If it's not possible, then you will have to wait for our next scheduled driver. In general, we have a driver there every hour. We won't take offense if you find another ride, but do let our office know immediately.
b) We allow 30 minutes for your baggage to come out. Southwest Airlines usually takes 20 minutes, United takes 30, and the rest are unpredictable. If you are travelling with carry-on only baggage, tell our reservation agent to make a note of this, as it may get you on an earlier van. For example, if Driver Pete is scheduled to pick up two parties with checked luggage arriving at 10:00AM, and you arrive at 10:30AM with no checked luggage, you may very well beat them to our van, and even if you don't, we'll hold the van if we know that you are "carry-on only".
c) We generally ask for your cellphone number, but if we don't, make sure that we have it.. And make sure to turn your phone on as soon as you get off of the plane. If your flight is only 10 minutes late, we are probably holding the van for you. If we cannot get ahold of you, we will assume that you have bags to collect (unless you told us otherwise when you made your reservation),and that you won't be out for another 20-30 minutes. If we do get ahold of you, we'll hold the van for you if you have no bags to collect.
Cheers, Pete, Davis Airporter driver since March of 1997 —AirporterDriverPete
2007-11-26 11:04:07 I can't believe the Davis Airporter won't accept credit card payments over the phone. —Red
I just called them and they confirmed it, so you're delusional. —NickSchmalenberger
2007-11-26 11:29:01 Nick-I just tried to reserve a spot on the Airporter for a friend and they told me I had to fax them my credit card number, expiration date, and security code along with written permission to charge the card. I think this is ridiculous but perhaps you feel otherwise. —Red
I admit it can be difficult sometimes to get to a fax machine, so I assume they had some problem with people disputing charges before that caused this policy. Maybe Pete can explain, or you could call them and ask. I doubt they would make it harder to serve customers (and take peoples money) without a good reason. While I agree that it could be hard to deal with, I don't think it is a ridiculous policy. —NickSchmalenberger
2007-12-08 10:34:43 To Red and Nick: Yes, if you want us to just charge your card that you give us over the phone, we do need a faxed authorization, and yes, it is because passengers have disputed charges (successfully). It's not a law, just a policy. For Sacramento airport runs, IMO, it's a waste of the passenger's and office's time, but it's a policy that the manager feels is necessary during the super-busy times of the year (holidays). For SFO runs, however, it prevents more hassles than it causes. When we take your card number over the phone, it's just to hold the reservation. For the time being, it's easier for everyone involved for passengers to either pay cash, or give the driver your card at the end of the ride.
To those who think they've been "double-charged": The night before we pick you up, we run your card for an authorization only, not a sale. This ensures that your card will go through OK, should you choose to use it to pay for your ride. This authorization gets listed as "pending" on your online account, and falls off after three days if choose not to use the card to pay for the ride. If you do use the card, two transactions may appear on your account at the same time, but one of them is just your reservation being held. The three-day wait for it to fall off is the CC card companies' policy. (Note: Since 2009, we have had credit card machines in the vans, so the policy of running authorizations beforehand no longer exists) Pete —AirporterDriverPete
2007-12-21 23:27:50 Customer service was horrible. Person answering the phone was rude. They left without me, without calling me, or leaving a message. My plane arrived on time. Grabbed my luggage and went outside. Waited for half an hour then called. Was told that the van had left because they waited for ten minutes after my flight arrived (...ahem... bull&$#!). I could either wait for two hours until the next scheduled van, or find my own transportation. —VihilaAlBhed
2007-12-22 01:13:33 PEOPLE! Unitrans takes you to the airport during winter and spring break holidays. UTILIZE IT! —EmilyTung
2007-12-28 22:46:28 I usually take the Yolobus but since it doesn't run at 5am on Sundays I called the Davis Airporter. They picked us up at the pre-determined time and everything went smoothly. —EmmyMelton