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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 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.
  • Reply 2 of 35
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,342member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 35
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,648member
    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.

  • Reply 4 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.

  • Reply 5 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?

  • Reply 6 of 35
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,331member
    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.

  • Reply 7 of 35
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,648member
    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.

  • Reply 8 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.
  • Reply 9 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.

  • Reply 10 of 35
    payecopayeco Posts: 449member
    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.
  • Reply 11 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.
  • Reply 12 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?

  • Reply 13 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?

  • Reply 14 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. 

  • Reply 15 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.
  • Reply 16 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.

  • Reply 17 of 35
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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¡
  • Reply 18 of 35
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,741member
    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.

  • Reply 19 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.

  • Reply 20 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.

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