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San Francisco | Health, Housing, and Public Services

Lawsuit Says Google Bus Project Is Illegal
by Michael Steinberg ( blackrainpress [at] hotmail.com )
Thursday May 1st, 2014 10:44 PM
A coalition of environmental, labor, and tenants rights groups filed suit in San Francisco today, contending that the City's "Commuter Bus Program," AKA "Google Bus Giveaway," is illegal.


Today a coalition filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court, alleging that the City's "Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program" is illegal and should be set aside.

That program seeks to address the Google Bus phenomenon, the use of Muni bus stops by private bus services carrying tech workers to and from workplaces outside SF. The Google buses pay nothing for use of these public spaces, and can aggressively block public buses from using the public bus stops.

In response, protesters have blocked Google buses, which have come to symbolize the high tech hegemony of SF, complete with unaffordable rents and rampant evictions.

The City's response is to propose that the Google buses start paying the insulting fee of $1 per stop in a limited number of bus stops. But the lawsuit filed today says, wait a minute, it's against state law for private buses to use the public bust stops, punto final!

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are The Coalition for Fair, Legal, and Environmental Transit; Sara Shortt of the tenants rights group Housing Rights Committee; and Alysabeth Alexander Vice President of Politics for SEIU 1021.

Defendants include the City and County of San Francisco;Mayor Ed Lee; the SF Board of Supervisors; Muni; and Google, Apple and Genentech.

"We know that these buses are having a devastating impact on our neighborhoods," said Sara Shortt," driving up rents and evictions of long-time SF residents.We've protested in the streets and taken our plea to City Hall to no avail. We hope to finally receive justice in a court of law."

Alysabeth Alexander added, "Time and time again, we have seen a double standard from Mayor Ed Lee. He has one set of rules for the tech industry and another set of rules for the rest of us. In the last three years, The City issued over 13,000 citations to vehicles in red zones (public bus stops), but only 45 were issued to tech buses."

"When tech buses use residential streets and those with bike lanes, it makes our roadways more dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists," contended Cynthia Cross of the Coalition for Fair, Legal and Environmental Transit. "When tech buses are loading in the red zone, it wreaks havoc and traffic delays multiply. And it's illegal."

See you in the red zone--and the courtroom.