The party-bus service, HB2Newport, started its engines in March and recently expanded to include Costa Mesa.
The shuttle service — there are actually two buses — connects the popular bar areas in downtown Huntington Beach, the peninsula in Newport Beach and the Triangle in Costa Mesa, giving passengers a chance to enjoy themselves outside their home cities for $4 per stop.
It gives partiers the ability to make intercity bar crawls complete with a 4,000-watt stereo system and other party accoutrements.
Founder Andrew Angulo, who lives in Huntington Beach, said the service gives patrons more options for a night out.
"When people are in H.B., they stay in their bubble," Angulo said. "It's hard for people to leave."
Angulo said though the service seems like an obvious choice for locals, the idea came from an unlikely source — his mom. While visiting Angulo from Seattle, she asked why he didn't visit the peninsula in Newport Beach more often. When he responded that "parking is bad, taxis are expensive and nobody wants to drink and drive," the idea for the shuttle was born.
Angulo and his partners purchased two airport shuttle buses, and his uncle, who designs party buses, transformed them into mobile party machines. Besides a stereo system, each bus sports a 50-inch LED television, dance poles, disco lights and lasers.
The service boasts a party atmosphere, but drinking on the bus is not allowed. Angulo said the company is "not in the business of offering a booze cruise but offering a luxury mode of transportation."
A shuttle picks up passengers in front of 25 Degrees in downtown Huntington Beach, behind Cassidy's Bar and Grill in Newport Beach and at the Triangle in Costa Mesa. A new Costa Mesa stop being added this week is in front of the Coronado Apartments, at 17th Street and Irvine Avenue.
According to Angulo, the buses carry several hundred passengers each weekend. Chad Cranford, general manager of 25 Degrees, said the shuttles bring in a crowd on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and that sometimes the restaurant will offer drink specials to passengers.
From 25 Degrees to the Triangle, Angulo said, the ride takes about 35 minutes and includes the stop in Newport Beach.
Triangle management asked to be added to the route in hopes the shuttle would help reintroduce people to the area. Triangle General Manager Morgan Erickson said he has seen an increase in passengers each weekend since the stop was added last month.
"We want to reintroduce the center to not only the local community but the surrounding community, and HB2Newport is part of that," Erickson said.
The bus operates from 6 p.m. to 2:45 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and picks up every two hours in Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa and every hour in Newport Beach.
Angulo said the company will be focusing on the two new routes and has no immediate plans to expand, though long-range he'd like to move into Long Beach.