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Petaluma bus company rescues Sonoma Valley commuter club

A private Petaluma transportation company has stepped in to save a Sonoma Valley commuter club that had been threatened with closure.

Gary and Jennifer Buffo, who own Pure Luxury, said they read about the plight of the Valley of the Moon Commute Club and decided to keep the service going.

The club is one of the last of its kind in the Bay Area, harkening back to an era when skyrocketing gas prices led to do-it-yourself forms of alternative transportation.

But declining membership and rising costs drove the club to the brink of closure, with the final run from Sonoma Valley to San Francisco scheduled for last Friday.

Instead, the club's 22 members will hop aboard a 31-passenger bus Tuesday morning operated by Pure Luxury for their commute to the city.

"We are extremely pleased that Pure Luxury stepped up to the plate. We thought we'd exhausted every resource both inside and out of the county," said Christine Hunter, a Sonoma resident who is the director of organization, development and training for Del Monte Foods in San Francisco.

She said members will pay $325 a month to use the service. That's $25 more a month than what they had been paying.

Hunter said the club's members decided the extra amount was worth it to avoid the hassle of having to drive their own vehicles or a van pool.

Jennifer Buffo said she and her husband were motivated more by altruistic reasons than hopes of turning a profit by helping the club.

"We're looking at this to give back to our community and keep unnecessary vehicles off the road, and to gain future business riders," she said.

She said the couple hopes to expand the commute service to other cities in Sonoma County.


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