Google buses start using private security guards




Okay… I'm… REALLY confused…

So Google is providing private mass transit for it's employees: An innovation which potentially removes cars from roads, and frees up space on public transit. And people are… angry? Because the busses stop at regular bus stops?

Maybe… just designate different places to stop? Put stops on say… Google Maps… and that way you don't even have to put up a sign?

Why is any of this an issue?


People do realize that eventually Google is just going to move to any one of hundreds of areas willing to give them anything to move there and pour money into their economy right?

This has to be the stupidest protest movement I have ever seen in my life.


Meanwhile, in Boston, companies gt a tax hint if they don't offr shuttle buses for their employees.


I'm tempted to agree with you. However, digging into the issue a little further, it looks like this is a misguided attempt to protest gentrification.

As a Vancouverite, I have hugely mixed feelings on the issue. It sucks when you've lived in a place all of your life, but over time, you get priced out. "You only make $60,000 a year? Well, you can probably afford this cardboard shack, but you'll need to make sacrifices…"

Housing affordability is a serious problem which governments, municipal and otherwise, should work to address promptly. Attacking other people solves nothing, and only serves to turn part of the public against your cause.


When I lived in the bay area in '04, price of living was already out of control and it has got an order of magnitude worse. Gentrification and easy money for the tech industry has absolutely caused an eddy in the spice time contin.... I mean an economic distortion. But protesting the google bus because of easy tech money make "The Rent Is Too Damn High" party look downright legit.


Basically there are ticked that rents have gone sky high due to all the Googlers who are willing to pay top $ and often a year in advance for apartments around these stops getting other people kicked out of there homes. due to rent increases. among other things.


The rents are high because height restrictions and zoning laws prevent people from building enough housing to meet the demand. Having lived in the Bay Area, I can say that it is not all that dense. You could build a lot more apartments there. That would make everyone's rent lower and keep the valley competitive.


I tend to agree, just with no actual first hand experience.

My wife and I live in North Carolina (not in the RDU or Charlotte area) and $60k is reasonably good money, enough to buy a small house if you manage your money well.

Of course 40 years ago my parents bought their house, a 1600 sq ft. ranch, for roughly $30k - and paid that off in about 3 years (they did both have good paying jobs at the time though). Bubble or no bubble, housing prices have way out paced earning potential.


I'll take this one!

There are hundreds of buses forming a transportation network of 35k people from SF to MTV and back every day.

It can be argued that they constitute a visible sign of gentrification. There is no argument that the buses themselves are physically HUUUGE and often use roads that are way too small to accommodate them, and then there's the issue of them blocking public bus stops, etc. At the very least the buses constitute an inconvenience on some of theses streets at the least, and at the worst threaten public safety and violate ADA requirements (people have observed muni buses being forced to park in the middle of the street to let passengers off while a tech bus idles in the bus stop for twn minutes).

The sensible solutions would be:

  1. Designate streets that can accommodate such large buses. Examples in the mission would be Guerrero, Van Ness, Potrero for north/south, and Duboce and Cesar Chavez for east/west.

  2. Establish a few hubs in areas of the city that are accessible by public transit that also have some space for big buses to idle.

Seems simple enough, yet I have no faith SFMTA is going to mandate any meaningful regulation.


Not really, SF would do just fine without the tech gentrifiers. SF is really really weird right now...

I find it interesting to how otherwise populist, liberal folks tend to get straight Randian when confronted with any kind of anti tech gentrification sentiment.


People in Detroit would sure love some gentrification right about now.


Yay fewer high paying jobs that will fix everything.

Again stupid short sited protest.

Lets smash some more windows on buses. That will fix everything.

So fucking stupid.


What exactly is Illegal Use of Public Infrastructure?

Are these buses also not allowed to used roads or bridges?


you said it!


To go through this again:

  • The shuttles have been using public bus stops, something that would generate a nearly $300 fine if a private car driver did it to drop off or pick someone up.

  • The shuttles make it much easier and more desirable for their workers to live far from their jobs. Rather than living down on the penninsula, the workers move to SF, and the high rents they can afford displace middle-income and low-wage long-time residents. Incentivizing choices that harm the community at large is a pretty crappy, self-centered thing to do. (Oh, it doesn't hurt that it's a way to squeeze extra work hours out of their own employees, of course.)

  • Then those lower-income folks have to leave SF because there are few if any opportunities for housing nearby that they can afford. This makes THEM into long-range commuters as well, either putting more cars on the road (because those folks may have lived near their SF-based jobs - who serves all those lattes and washes the floors at all those clubs when the Googlers are done with their play time?) or straining the public transportation system further. (Do any of the much-touted numbers about CO2 reductions consider these increases? Of course not.) (By the way, do the Google Cafeteria workers get to ride the shuttles if they live in SF? Who wants to place a bet?)

  • Public transportation systems, which, by the way, the big tech companies are not helping to fund, because they're opting to invest in private transportation networks instead, further opening the gap between the elites and everybody else. And to the extent that they have to pay taxes at all (thanks to local tax breaks and overseas tax shelters), they're not generally paying it to the cities impacted most by their effects on housing and infrastructure (a perfect example of the way businesses shift their costs from the private to the public sector.)

So please, feel free to scoff at the "stupidity" of people who are angry about this charming two-tier transportation system ("We got ours! Enjoy MUNI and CalTrain, suckers, while you still have them!").


Future prediction: It is important that these shuttles become established and culturally entrenched, because only a few years from now, tech workers (and others) will gain the option and the money to buy self-driving google-cars, which unless they are dissuaded from doing so by having truly excellent bus options, would be like adding thousands of new private mini superbuses - the owner can work, eat or sleep during their commute just like it's a bus, but with greater privacy and convenience, yet unlike a bus, individual cars take up far more road and causes far more traffic congestion. The (currently misguided) bus-protestors would see it as an even starker symbol of class divide - those forced to waste their life driving in frustrating awful traffic, negotiating a gridlock that is partly made up of others taking naps in their robot-chauffeured cars, those others who have little reason to care how bad traffic gets or how long the commute takes because length of commute is no skin off their nose - it's all productive time in a comfortable relaxing private space.
The buses are the best solution.


Just as short-sighted as Occupy. I bet Fox news would agree with you!

Protesting buses is not going to stop gentrification, obviously, but when the bus protests started, conversation about gentrification and the issues it causes EXPLODED in local media... and now the city says they're going to do something to regulate the buses (which needed to be done, as an issue totally removed from gentrification).....

just sayin.


i get your point, but in this case I am not sure if google will win, or if google has already won.


i believe the term is hyperbole.