News


S.F approves commuter buses, including those from Pleasanton

Google, Facebook, others shuttle workers to city jobs

A proposal to allow private commuter buses to use certain public bus stops in exchange for a fee was approved Tuesday by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's board of directors despite protests by housing rights advocates and other opponents.

The 18-month pilot program, approved in a 5-0 vote by the SFMTA board, is set to start in July. Companies such as Google and Facebook that use shuttles to transport their employees to work from Pleasanton and other locations will be charged $1 per stop to use Muni stops. The same fee will apply to local hospitals and universities that also offer shuttles.

SFMTA officials say various private bus companies provide more than 35,000 total boardings per day in San Francisco -- roughly the same number as Caltrain -- meaning fewer cars on the road and less pollution.

But the proposal has come under fire by protesters who say the buses symbolize the gentrification of San Francisco and the city's rising cost of living due to an influx of wealthy tech workers. They also say the shuttles cause Muni delays.

A group of several dozen protesters blocked two buses along Market Street Tuesday morning, then marched to the offices of the San Francisco Association of Realtors and City Hall.

Jane Martin, of the advocacy group People Organized to Win Employment Rights, said at Tuesday's meeting, "We're very concerned that the

tech industry is privatizing public transit."

Anabelle Bolanos, a City College of San Francisco student, told the board that the city should charge more for the buses.

"I pay $2 for Muni and they pay a dollar for a whole bus?" she said. "It's a joke."

SFMTA officials noted that under California's Proposition 218, the city can't charge the shuttle providers more than the total costs incurred by the city related to the buses.

The city's projected costs include studying the effects of the shuttle buses, enforcing the rules that apply to the shuttles and providing extra parking enforcement officers near shuttle stops during commute hours.

The city's price tag is projected to be roughly $1.5 million over the 18 months of the pilot program.

Employees at Google and other tech companies attended Tuesday's meeting and said they support the plan.

"To us, it's not a luxury shuttle, it's just a thing on wheels that gets us to work," said Dima Voytenko, an engineer with Google.

Voytenko said he was "a little surprised and upset" that his mode of transport has become such a hot-button issue.

Supervisor Scott Wiener came to the meeting and advocated for the proposal while also urging people not to scapegoat the shuttle buses for housing problems.

"Blaming tech employees is not the solution to our housing crisis," Wiener said.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

Posted by Afwulfarter, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2014 at 9:50 am

It never ceases to amaze of how many nit-wits live in San Francisco. Do these loons have any idea how much revenue these tech employees bring to San Francisco?
Of course, it also amazes me that these techies want to live in a swill-hole like San Francisco.


Posted by Cholo , a resident of Livermore
on Jan 25, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Is a "swillhole" something nasty or what?


Posted by Pololo Mololo, a resident of Livermore
on Jan 25, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Swillhole: Web Link


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Understanding Early Decision in College Admissions
By Elizabeth LaScala | 1 comment | 1,874 views

New heights for NIMBYs
By Tim Hunt | 29 comments | 1,208 views

When those covering the news become the news
By Gina Channell-Allen | 1 comment | 899 views

Earthquake Insurance
By Roz Rogoff | 2 comments | 727 views