San Francisco protestors toss electric scooters in front of tech company commuter buses

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Okay, maybe it’s wrong but I find this pretty funny.


Caltrops, guys. Still effective after all these years.


Okay, definitely get the objection to sweeping up the tent cities. And I gather the buses are irritating because they’re private but use public bus stops. There are a few things I’'m not clear on though. So a few questions for our Bay Area Mutants or anyone else more in the loop.

Is the objection to people living in SF and working in Silicon Valley?

Is it to new people moving to San Francisco period?

Is it only that the buses are private? Would people be happier if the commuters used cars, and would that cause more or less traffic congestion? Don’t public buses go between SF and the Valley, and why don’t the commuters use those?

Separately, this is the first I’m hearing about these electric scooter rentals. I gather from some googling that the companies didn’t get permits and must remove them while the city processes their applications. Is there a different reason why these protestors dislike the scooters?


There have been several (well, at least 2) threads on these already on BB.


Thanks! I found Cory’s thread on the electronics. Couldn’t find any others on the SF scooters.

ETA: And down the rabbit hole I went. Wow, this might be the most poorly thought-through bit of transportation I’ve seen yet (I’m adding the yet, because I’m sure someone will top it before too long).


First, a bias disclosure: I work in tech. That said, I don’t ride a tech bus to work, as I am fortunate enough to live close to work. But lots of my coworkers do.

Yes. The tech buses have enabled something that publicly-run mass transit was unable to provide: convenient, reliable service between Silicon Valley and various cities that are desirable to live in. This has flipped the traditional city-suburb model on its head, with San Francisco essentially becoming a bedroom community for Silicon Valley. This does not sit well with the people who feel they have a stronger claim to San Francisco than, well, the people who also live in San Francisco but happen to work in tech.

I think the main objection is gentrification. As tech people move in, the price of housing goes up (it was already ridiculously high) and effectively forces people who work in other industries to move elsewhere. Ironically, many of those “artisanal San Franciscans” who feel forced out are moving across the bay to Oakland, and in the process gentrifying Oakland, pushing out the poorer people there.

This question is far too rational to get an honest answer. No, seriously. You’re correct in your assessment that the traffic would be worse without the coaches, but that argument seems to hold little water with the people who are against tech buses. Their fondest wish is for all the tech buses AND all the people they serve to leave San Francisco for good, thereby returning San Francisco to the pot-smoking center of art and culture that it never was, complete with affordable housing for everyone. And while I sympathize with the cost of housing, I can’t exactly sympathize with the idea that some San Franciscans get to tell other San Franciscans that they’re not allowed to be San Franciscans (because reasons).

Clear as mud, right?


There was one on them. Mostly they don’t have kiosks/racks for return/pickup. You just leave it there when you are done and it locks. You can unlock it with a pone app. If it is like the bikes I see sitting for days in Seattle yeah I understand why people are getting annoyed.


A big part of it is how all the recently-arrived tech workers living in what was once an affordable working-class S.F. neighborhood has resulted in massive displacement and gentrification. In many cases families that have lived there for generations have been pushed out by skyrocketing rent.

The buses also created some controversy because they use public Muni stops and have thus been blamed for causing delays for local transit.


I actually like the idea; small, stable, inexpensive, easy-to-ride motorized transport would work great for my commute if there was a safe place to ride them. Obviously not the car lanes, probably not the bike lanes (where we have them), and sidewalks should be for pedestrians.

In my town they’ve been classified as mopeds. It is illegal to park a moped on the sidewalk. That effectively killed Lime, at least for now.


It sounds like both sides have different reasons for not wanting the practical solution of reliable public bus service between SF and Silicon Valley, so I guess it won’t happen?

There’s some of that in Austin too. I moved to Austin in 2004 and my wife in 2008, so we get less side-eye than more recent transplants. In my time here, the city’s population has basically doubled and traffic has become even more of a nightmare than in most major cities, so I catch myself frowning at all the yuppies from time to time. I freely admit that part of it is that I don’t really like the frat demeanor of techbros. I tangentially work in tech, but most of my colleagues are research scientists like me. This is probably a little snobbish and hypocritical of me; plenty of coders and engineers perfectly good people, but more than a few are Dunning–Kruger incarnate and it seems to skew to the younger males of the species.

I wondered about this. Again, property appreciation has priced out a lot of native Austinites. It does kind of suck when a place’s appeal drives the cost of living in your hometown beyond your means. I don’t think anyone has a greater claim to being in a certain place on Earth, but I get the irritation all the same. The reason I wasn’t sure about SF gentrification is because the cost of living was already so high. The cascading gentrification is an interesting macro effect and would make me suspect a property bubble was inflating. In general though it seems more to reflect class divides, stagnant wages, costs outstripping normal inflation and economic growth, and a general attempt by those on the better side of the widening economic chasm to try to isolate themselves from those less fortunate.


This sort of gentrification has been happening to poor black and latino communities for generations with barely anyone standing up for them or kicking up a fuss. But when it starts happening to middle class whites suddenly everyone is up in arms and tantrums are thrown. I mean I feel bad for you, but not that bad. Sorry.


I like the idea too. That’s why I was initially confused by the outrage it’s garnering. But the irritation over the e-waste and basic attitude of the companies involved that the commons are their personal parking lots and dumping grounds makes plenty of sense. They should pay for permits to cover the land use and proper docks. As it is, it seems they want to externalize the costs to everyone else by basically being corporate litterbugs.


the metacognitive inability of low-ability people to recognize their lack of ability

I have met a few stupid coders and engineers in my time, but that’s not usually a group associated with the Dunning-Kruger effect. That said, I’m not sure what might have been meant instead. :thinking:


I’ve never worked for a tech company, but back when I worked for Conde, they had a private shuttle service to get workers to and from BART. That shuttle wasn’t allowed to use MUNI stops for the exact same reason, and if they did, the company got heavily fined for it. (I remember them constantly having to change the drop-off and pick-up points.)

Transportation around the city is already ridiculously congested, so I can’t really blame anyone who’s agged at companies that make it even worse.

The problem therein is that displacement actually does “trickle down”; affecting Oakland and other areas that historically have poorer people of color, who’ve been living and working there for ages.


Dunning-Kruger can also involve someone with one set of expertise falsely believing it implies broader intelligence, often shored up by culture that defers to them as it often does to men above a certain level of income or influence in their field.


But do the tech buses actually make it worse? Also, I want to point out that the private shuttles are in fact regulated by the city, and can only stop in certain places and on certain streets.


While the phenomenon you describe is real, I don’t think that’s really the Dunning-Kruger effect. It’s common to actors who think they must have other skills (like singing) as well. Or vice versa.


Quite possible. I certainly don’t have expertise in psychology and may have misused the term in my offhand comment. (Yes, I’m aware of the irony.)


Within the city limits, if they stop at MUNI stops and/or use MUNI routes*? Absolutely.

I challenge anyone who disbelieves that it really makes that much of a difference to come drive in SF, in the financial district, during evening rush hour; see for yourself.

*Allowing that the drivers often may have no choice about the routes they take.