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Apple, Google commuter shuttles to be charged fee for using San Francisco bus stops

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
San Francisco transit officials on Tuesday voted to implement a pilot shuttle bus program that will charge Silicon Valley tech companies like Apple and Google a fee to make pickups at public bus stops.

Bus
Activists protesting economic inequality outside of San Francisco's City Hall. | Source: AP/Jeff Chiu


The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) accepted terms of the pilot program amid protests regarding escalated cost of living and economic inequality within the city, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

"In my mind, the pilot project is clearly better than what we have now," said SFMTA Chairman Tom Nolan.

Under the plan, shuttle buses will have to pay $1 for each stop, which The Verge noted equates to roughly $1.5 million in fees over the pilot program's 18-month span. The city estimates medium size companies will pay around $80,000 per year, while larger businesses like Apple and Google will put in over $100,000.

Any money collected by the SFMTA is to be put back into the program to cover administrative fees, permits, enforcement and other related costs. California law prohibits profiting off the program.

Shuttle systems like those used by Apple and Google have been the target of activists who have turned the buses into a symbol for their fight against what they call economic inequality. Protestors claim a type of class war is being fought as high-income employees from big tech firms swarm into San Francisco, causing a housing costs to spike well above what an average citizen can afford. Former residents have said they were pushed out of the city due to the inflation.

Not all employees being shuttled back and forth from San Francisco are "billionaire riders," however. Regular working class citizens like Google program manager Crystal Sholts are among those caught in the middle of the so-called class warfare.

"I'm not a billionaire. Like many people, I'm still paying off my student loans," Sholts said.

San Francisco's pilot shuttle program is slated to start in July.
post #2 of 35
As they already should have done. They get major tax breaks from one end of the coffeurs and this they can absorb. The funds will sustain public transit.
post #3 of 35
If it's a public stop, how can they charge anyone for using it? The public pays for it. Apple and Google will likely just tell people to wait 50ft up the road to avoid the issue.
post #4 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

If it's a public stop, how can they charge anyone for using it? The public pays for it. Apple and Google will likely just tell people to wait 50ft up the road to avoid the issue.

Totally agree. Do taxis get charged when they stop to pick up customers? What if I pull over to drop off someone or pick someone up. Will I be charged the $1? It's a racket that cities can block off public streets for public buses yet they want to charge others for using the street taxpayers already paid for.

post #5 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post
 

Totally agree. Do taxis get charged when they stop to pick up customers? What if I pull over to drop off someone or pick someone up. Will I be charged the $1?It's a racket that cities can block off public streets for public buses yet they want to charge others for using the street taxpayers already paid for.

 

These are not public busses. These are private charter busses for the private employees of a particular corporation. Taxis must pay licensing fees to operate in the city, while providing a service to the general public. If you pull over to pick up or drop off someone as a matter of business, yes, you can be subject to regulation. If you are operating as a commercial driver, and you are not properly registered, you could even face fines and/or incarceration. That's why "gypsy cabs" are illegal.

 

The city would be well within its rights to force these private charters to purchase facilities off of the public way for their charter shuttle operations. Embarking and disembarking of passengers, by a charter operator, within the public way, can be regulated by a municipal government. The city also has a right to charge the shuttle operators a tax for operating their service within the city limits since the city is a primary place of operation of said business.

 

Busses are heavy and cause significant wear and tear on the city infrastructure. The city should be collecting revenue to offset these costs.

post #6 of 35

Wait, they're going to charge a fee that will raise $1.5 million, and the money will be used to pay for the cost of collecting the $1.5 million? Do I have that right?

post #7 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by aduzik View Post
 

Wait, they're going to charge a fee that will raise $1.5 million, and the money will be used to pay for the cost of collecting the $1.5 million? Do I have that right?

 

That's what it says. They may have misunderstood the concept of a self-sustaining economy.

post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by leftoverbacon View Post
 

...

Busses are heavy and cause significant wear and tear on the city infrastructure. The city should be collecting revenue to offset these costs.

Just like delivery trucks that double park and get away with it. The whole point of this article is that some activists think they have the right to complain about companies trying to improve the environment by taking cars off the road. If these busses go away, it will cost everyone more money.

post #9 of 35
I understand the issue; it is something we deal with in Manhattan, NY. I don't understand the symbol; buses have never been associated with high status. Nor how the new commercial vehical regulations will resolve high housing cost, and class inequality. It don't look like the fees will subsides any affordable housing at all.
post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post
 

Just like delivery trucks that double park and get away with it. The whole point of this article is that some activists think they have the right to complain about companies trying to improve the environment by taking cars off the road. If these busses go away, it will cost everyone more money.

No, not just like delivery trucks that double park and get away with it.

 

1) Transportation of people has a regulatory and insurance structure considerably different than that of transporting goods.

2) Delivery trucks, if found to be double parked, can be ticketed.

3) If these commercial vehicles use public facilities, they should be obligated to pay a user fee. If the private operators do not want to pay a user fee for utilizing public facilities, they are free to construct their own private facilities for handling their passengers. e.g. Private aircraft pay "landing fees" to use public airports.

 

If these busses were to disappear, some would pay more, but many more would save.

1) The public wouldn't be subsidizing a service that benefits a particular private corporation. 

2) Without the perk of WiFi enabled shuttle craft, Silicon Valley would have a harder time recruiting staff that wants to live in the city. If these Silicon Valley Corps started have difficulty staffing their offices, then they may either: A) offer higher salaries or B) open an office within the city limits thereby recruiting staff who wants to live in the city. At the same time they would be adding to the revenue base of the city directly through real estate taxes and other services used within the city limits.

 

Basically, the activists don't like seeing their city turned into a wealthy commuter suburb of San Jose. If these companies were based in the city, the workers would eat lunch in the city, they would utilize other businesses in the city: Delivery Companies, Contractors, entertainment, etc. San Francisco is a city, not a bedroom community. These shuttle craft are basically making San Francisco into a place where Silicon Valley tech workers have very expensive crash pads, and that is a very sad thing.

post #11 of 35
When I interned at Yahoo the shuttle picked us up in San Francisco off the street in certain locations but they weren't bus stops. My pickup location was in front of the opera house on Van Ness and Grove across from City Hall. We all just sat on the Opera House steps and waited for the shuttle. Not sure why the other companies are even using bus stops other than it's a convenient, specific location.
post #12 of 35
A key issue is that these private buses are clogging up the public streets, and most importantly, blocking Muni buses (that people pay their own money for) from using the stops and slowing public transport for many more people. The irony is that they can't use the fees to make Muni better.
These buses are a potent and obvious symbol of the inadvertent social engineering going on in the Bay Area. It doesn't have to be a willful conspiracy to still be happening.
Full Disclosure: I am a well-paid corporate manager who lives in a yuppie condo in an up-and-coming inner city 'hood. Definitely part of the problem but at least I live and work in SF.
post #13 of 35

are you SFMTA's chief attorney? maybe a public transportation apologist? or maybe a twenty-something student who's still in the honeymoon stage with government? 

Dude, does "We the People" mean anything to you? why are you so subservient? did you not read that the money taken is just to cover the expenses of the program? that is not how a free society prospers. commie or no?

post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by leftoverbacon View Post
 

No, not just like delivery trucks that double park and get away with it.

 

1) Transportation of people has a regulatory and insurance structure considerably different than that of transporting goods.

2) Delivery trucks, if found to be double parked, can be ticketed.

3) If these commercial vehicles use public facilities, they should be obligated to pay a user fee. If the private operators do not want to pay a user fee for utilizing public facilities, they are free to construct their own private facilities for handling their passengers. e.g. Private aircraft pay "landing fees" to use public airports.

 

If these busses were to disappear, some would pay more, but many more would save.

1) The public wouldn't be subsidizing a service that benefits a particular private corporation. 

2) Without the perk of WiFi enabled shuttle craft, Silicon Valley would have a harder time recruiting staff that wants to live in the city. If these Silicon Valley Corps started have difficulty staffing their offices, then they may either: A) offer higher salaries or B) open an office within the city limits thereby recruiting staff who wants to live in the city. At the same time they would be adding to the revenue base of the city directly through real estate taxes and other services used within the city limits.

 

Basically, the activists don't like seeing their city turned into a wealthy commuter suburb of San Jose. If these companies were based in the city, the workers would eat lunch in the city, they would utilize other businesses in the city: Delivery Companies, Contractors, entertainment, etc. San Francisco is a city, not a bedroom community. These shuttle craft are basically making San Francisco into a place where Silicon Valley tech workers have very expensive crash pads, and that is a very sad thing.

are you SFMTA's chief attorney? maybe a public transportation apologist? or maybe a twenty-something student who's still in the honeymoon stage with government? 

Dude, does "We the People" mean anything to you? why are you so subservient? did you not read that the money taken is just to cover the expenses of the program? that is not how a free society prospers. commie or no?

post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanfb View Post
 

are you SFMTA's chief attorney? maybe a public transportation apologist? or maybe a twenty-something student who's still in the honeymoon stage with government? 

Dude, does "We the People" mean anything to you? why are you so subservient? did you not read that the money taken is just to cover the expenses of the program? that is not how a free society prospers. commie or no?

Why are you so subservient to private corporations that are solely motivated by profit at any cost? Because Fascism? A free society prospers best if businesses are also sensitive to their impact on the communities in which they operate. 

 

I lived and worked in SF for a dot com during the dot com bubble. I am intimately aware of the type of disruption that is going on in the city.

 

I'm also an advocate of sustainable transportation and smart growth.

 

"We the People" means that as a tax payer, I shouldn't subsidize public infrastructure for the sole benefit of a private corporation, especially if the corporation isn't contributing revenue to the city, and most especially if its actions are detrimental to the culture of the city. The fee being charged is actually too low, it should really be an impact fee of much greater significance.

 

The most ideal situation would be for the companies to locate branch offices within the city limits so these busses are not necessary. This would promote a more stable equilibrium in the community, and generate jobs in the community at all wage levels. 

post #16 of 35
They better explain with a straight face why this commuter has to pay five times rent compared to someone living on rent control for past couple decades, or five/ten times more in property taxes if he decides to buy a house. Once they do - they inequality question will resolve itself.
post #17 of 35

I'd love to see Oakland jump into this debate and offer Apple and Google a deal to run shuttles on the other side of the bay. My Northern California geography is a little sketchy, so I'm not sure how practical this would be.

post #18 of 35
I also find this all a bit hard to wrap my head around. I place it somewhere between bitcoins and the female orgasm on the comprehension scale¡

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post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by leftoverbacon View Post
 

I lived and worked in SF for a dot com during the dot com bubble. I am intimately aware of the type of disruption that is going on in the city.

 


"Intimately aware"??  Jeez... get over yourself.

I was born in San Francisco, raised there, and still living in San Francisco for more than a few decades.  I own my own home here, pay property taxes, and all the other hugely stupid taxes that go to people that frankly, would rather take than receive and have zero incentive to contribute to my city, both protesters and politicians.

I've seen San Francisco as a moderate city, progressive city, from the seventies to now.  When it was managed better, to the toilet that it was up until a few years ago, and the glimmer of light I'm beginning to see now thanks to the influx of moderate, taxpaying individuals.

It's those progressive retards from
 all those decades that rejected building any more housing because they wanted to keep San Francisco just the way it was back then.  Zero growth.  Now, it's coming to bite them in the a$$ and like clockwork, they look the other way and simply blame other people.  I'm not even going to get into rent control and how that is contributing to the housing shortage.

I don't think the "Google buses" need to pay.  I'm speaking as a tax-paying San Franciscan.  These buses provide a huge service to MY city by taking literally thousands of cars off MY tax-paid streets, reduces wear-and-tear on those streets that can be more damaging than any one bus can do, it's cleaner, and with less cars, also makes it more safer for pedestrians.  I'm active in my neighborhood and we all LOVE those buses.  Who are my neighbors?  They are all property owners that have been here longer than you've probably been alive.

Those protesters are the most selfish, hypocritical people I have yet to see.  They spew jealousy of other people for the hard work and success they have reached.  These a$$hats say they are proud to live in such an open city, yet turn right around and spew hatred towards a particular demographic of people.  Sheer jealousy and I'm embarrassed to have those idiots living in my city.

I think it funny that you believe your quick "scenic-tour" for those very few years of the dot-com bubble somehow qualifies you to be "intimately aware" of what goes on in San Francisco.  Have you attended neighborhood meetings?  Have you spoken publicly in city hall to give your opinion of whatever measure, ordinance, or law is being considered?  I have.  What went on during the dot-com boom is only a vague similarity to what's going on now in my city.

That's the problem with transplants like you.  Do a little time in San Francisco, and suddenly you think you're an expert and you can tell everyone else what to do.  You must be related to Chris Daly.

post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by leftoverbacon View Post
 

"especially if the corporation isn't contributing revenue to the city" 

Thought so. Come back when the honeymoon is over.

post #21 of 35

This is so f'ing stupid. Would the city prefer having another ten thousand cars coming into the city every day? Those few buses won't do as much damage as all of those cars needed to carry all of those people into and out of the city. How much more pollution would be caused by all of those cars?

 

Governments also promote car pooling and even finance and contribute to the purchase of vans used for it. How can they now decide that they want to charge companies for stopping to pick up employees? This is just another government scam designed to take more money from companies.

 

The US Government and other government organizations are all schizophrenic and sometimes psychotic. If an individual acted the way governments do he would be locked away in an insane asylum.

post #22 of 35
Ridiculous! Setting up a charging system whose income is to provide the cost of operating said system. Nothing against the idea of charging, seems reasonable but the money should benefit the people in some way.
post #23 of 35
Incredibly stupid and frankly fully expected from a city like San Francisco. Just another reason for decent people to avoid California and its poorly managed cities.
post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by zaba View Post

Ridiculous! Setting up a charging system whose income is to provide the cost of operating said system. Nothing against the idea of charging, seems reasonable but the money should benefit the people in some way.

No the idea of charging for a service that effectively benefits the city is stupid. As for benefitting the people, the people need to be willing to work. San Francisco simply has too many free loaders, frankly many of them in Government, which explains why San Francisco has been one of Americas failed cities for so long.
post #25 of 35

This is crazy about charging fees for these stops.

post #26 of 35
Quote:

Originally Posted by leftoverbacon View Post

 

...............
 

If these busses were to disappear, some would pay more, but many more would save.

1) The public wouldn't be subsidizing a service that benefits a particular private corporation. 

2) Without the perk of WiFi enabled shuttle craft, Silicon Valley would have a harder time recruiting staff that wants to live in the city. If these Silicon Valley Corps started have difficulty staffing their offices, then they may either: A) offer higher salaries or B) open an office within the city limits thereby recruiting staff who wants to live in the city. At the same time they would be adding to the revenue base of the city directly through real estate taxes and other services used within the city limits.

 

Basically, the activists don't like seeing their city turned into a wealthy commuter suburb of San Jose. If these companies were based in the city, the workers would eat lunch in the city, they would utilize other businesses in the city: Delivery Companies, Contractors, entertainment, etc. San Francisco is a city, not a bedroom community. These shuttle craft are basically making San Francisco into a place where Silicon Valley tech workers have very expensive crash pads, and that is a very sad thing.

What? ...... dinner at home don't count? These buses aren't a 24 hour door to door taxi service for the employees. Many employees still have to take public transportation to where their corporate buses stops. The buses takes them to work and then back about 8 hours later . The employees still spends about 16 hours a day and their days off in the city. They still spend their money in the city. They still utilize city businesses during the 16 hours they are not at work. They shop there. They dine there. They go to movies there. They patronize neighborhood businesses.  You make it seems as though these workers takes the bus from work to the city just so that they can spend 8 hours in the city sleeping. While with the other 16 hours, they're spending their money in the community where they work. 

 

Besides the real issue is not about the use of the bus stops. It's about these protesters misconception that these tech workers, that commutes to work on these buses, are solely responsible for driving up the rent and creating a rental shortage. They only target the buses in hope of having them banned so that the inconvenience of a commute would cause these tech workers to consider moving out of the city and closer to work. The fact that the city will allow the buses to operate for a fee is not a victory for these protesters. Not even if the city were to triple the fee. And even if they got a ban on the buses, most of the tech workers would just commute to work in their own cars or carpool. The commute south to Silicon Valley is not that bad. Most of the workers would probably spend more time driving through the city, than the 30 minutes on the freeway to work. That would mean 1000's of more autos driving through the city, twice a day. Which can't be a good thing for the city.  

 

Having corporations build branch offices in the city will not satisfy these protesters. The protesters want these tech workers out of the city so they can have their low cost rental units back. To these protester, creating more jobs in the city will only drive up the rent more and create even a bigger rental shortage. Not to mention all the "artist" that will be forced to move from their low rent lofts in warehouses, when the value of commercial property goes up and the property owner decides it's a good time to sell. They couldn't care less about how much more tax dollars it brings in. To these protesters, what is the use of bringing in more tax dollars to the city coffer, if they can no longer afford to live in the city.  

post #27 of 35
Let the activist fight it out. I am sure there are many that would like to see private cars outlawed, they can have a rumble with the ones wanting to get rid of bus service that allows people to not use their private cars for the daily commute. Does SF charge all the tourist buses for use of stops?
post #28 of 35
I don't know enough about the specifics - are the buses using the public stops without permission from the government? Does it hold up the public transportation? Can any old person with a van use the public stop to pick up a friend?

Aside from the fees, which depending on other questions could be reasonable, there seems to be some out of whack inhabitants protesting. Class wars? What do they think of the Mercedes and limousines driving around? Are they a part of the problem? Cost of living too much? The only way to fix that would be to make it illegal for the rest of the world to visit or live there. They sound like they're trying to outlaw growth. There are plenty of other cities to choose from with less growth - you may want to move there if the people in that city don't outlaw it. The whole world is sorry that your housing costs are rising, but we can't help you.. and even if we could, we've got bigger issues to worry about.
post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by leftoverbacon View Post

These are not public busses. These are private charter busses for the private employees of a particular corporation. Taxis must pay licensing fees to operate in the city, while providing a service to the general public. If you pull over to pick up or drop off someone as a matter of business, yes, you can be subject to regulation. If you are operating as a commercial driver, and you are not properly registered, you could even face fines and/or incarceration. That's why "gypsy cabs" are illegal.

The city would be well within its rights to force these private charters to purchase facilities off of the public way for their charter shuttle operations. Embarking and disembarking of passengers, by a charter operator, within the public way, can be regulated by a municipal government. The city also has a right to charge the shuttle operators a tax for operating their service within the city limits since the city is a primary place of operation of said business.

Busses are heavy and cause significant wear and tear on the city infrastructure. The city should be collecting revenue to offset these costs.

Cities don't have "rights", people have rights.

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post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by aduzik View Post

Wait, they're going to charge a fee that will raise $1.5 million, and the money will be used to pay for the cost of collecting the $1.5 million? Do I have that right?

It will keep legions of public revenue sucking bureaucrats employed, and that's really more important than sensible minimal government. /s

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post #31 of 35
So as I understand it they're going to charge those tech companies (such as Apple, Google etc) who operate their own transportation structure for their employees a fee to pick up said employees?
post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

No the idea of charging for a service that effectively benefits the city is stupid. As for benefitting the people, the people need to be willing to work. San Francisco simply has too many free loaders, frankly many of them in Government, which explains why San Francisco has been one of Americas failed cities for so long.

It's quotes like this...

"Not all employees being shuttled back and forth from San Francisco are "billionaire riders," however. Regular working class citizens like Google program manager Crystal Sholts are among those caught in the middle of the so-called class warfare.

"I'm not a billionaire. Like many people, I'm still paying off my student loans," Sholts said."

...that make San Francisco a city of winners. /s

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post #33 of 35
"Busses are heavy and cause significant wear and tear on the city infrastructure. The city should be collecting revenue to offset these costs."

That's supposed to be what fuel taxes pay for.
post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by spacekid View Post

"Busses are heavy and cause significant wear and tear on the city infrastructure. The city should be collecting revenue to offset these costs."

That's supposed to be what fuel taxes pay for.

Exactly right! Thank you sir for thinking clearly and not being led astray by pro-government cheerleading. We need more of you.

post #35 of 35
Sometimes I wish we could just let California float out into the Pacific.
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