The Alameda County Transit vehicle was stolen from the temporary Transbay Terminal in San Francisco around 9 a.m. Friday, KPIX-TV, San Francisco, reported.
"We do have some systematic that need to be followed in order to board a bus and certainly to start a bus and drive off with it. We are assuming whoever did this had some prior knowledge of that protocol and was able to do that," said AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson.
California Highway Patrol officers located the bus and chased to Oakdale, which is about 100 miles north of San Francisco, CHP said. Officers put down road spikes, causing the bus' tires to blow and forcing the bus to stop.
At the end of the chase, a shirtless man was taken into custody and charged with reckless driving, failure to yield, and grand theft, CHP said. The suspect's name was not reported.
No one was on the bus at the time of the theft and no one was injured in the incident.