An Isla Vista institution will soon be on the road again, but it may have some competition.
Bill Singer, owner and operator of the popular Bill’s Bus service, has filed for a new permit and expects to resume operations within a month. Bill’s Bus provides inexpensive roundtrip transportation between I.V. and downtown Santa Barbara in order to prevent I.V. residents from driving home intoxicated. The service was suspended on Oct. 24 due to legal complications.
Singer said he wishes to dispel rumors that Bill’s Bus is going out of business.
“In no way shape or form are we out of business. We have the capacity to run and we’re fully insured,” he said. “I have been granted the permit, I’m just waiting on the paperwork.”
Singer was formerly co-owner of a similar business in I.V. called Arrive Alive. He said he hopes to get Bill’s Bus running again as soon as possible in order to serve the community better.
“I feel bad because people depend on this service,” Singer said.
Mike Miramoto, a former employee of Arrive Alive, has also applied for a permit and plans to run his own service called Mike’s Ride. Miramoto said he and Singer did not see eye to eye on business matters and he plans to implement different advertising and promotion techniques to stir up some competition.
“I think the competition will be healthy,” Miramoto said. “It will give people a choice and bring prices down.”
Singer said he doubts two companies will be able to opeate simultaneously because the business is not profitable enough.
“[The service] doesn’t make enough for two companies to survive,” Singer said. “It’s extremely expensive, I don’t know how he thinks he’s going to pull it off.”
Despite Singer’s protests, Miramoto is confident he will be able to operate successfully.
“There are thousands of students in I.V. and one company couldn’t provide for the demand of all of them,” Miramoto said. “So many more students would take the bus if there were enough buses supplied. The community definitely could support two companies.”
Singer said the business is not a profitable one, but still has its rewards.
“There’s no money in it, and I’d be willing to show anyone my books to show how much I really make,” he said. “It’s not a money issue. I’m trying to do something that will make a difference.”
Miramoto said he plans to start Mike’s Ride as soon as possible.
“I passed all the inspections, I have insurance, and as soon as I get my permit I will run that night,” he said.
Overall, Singer said he is just anxious to get his buses running again.
“All I want to do is run the bus. I’m hoping to get going within a couple of weeks, but unfortunately it could take as long as a month.”