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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.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by hchapot
Friday May 2nd, 2014 3:13 PM
I am suggesting the buses park in central locations and the riders walk, bike, take muni, uber or taxi's to board. This will only solve the traffic problem. At least they won't be blocking muni stops and making neighborhood locations unaffordable. What to do about income inequality and displacement is for another time.
by Mike
Saturday May 3rd, 2014 12:37 AM
Is techie-ass too good to park on a Caltrain seat? There are many Caltrain stops on the Peninsula, including Mountain View for the Googlebots. They can all park their elitist ass on Caltrain and take that down the Peninsula like anybody else would have to do. Then their techie shuttles can pick them up at the Mountain View Caltrain stop (or Palo Alto or San José....Caltrain has many stops down there). Have their techie shuttles waiting at each stop of Caltrain, if need be. Problem solved. Then on the round trip back to the city, they can all be dumped at the Caltrain stop in the city and take muni (the bus) and/or muni metro where they need to go....like the rest of us. And then they can proceed to their elitist glass-walled million-dollar-plus Luxury Designer Condos.

But something tells me that this basic plan won't happen. Because this involves big-headed, arrogant, not-very-bright, corporatist politicians whose corporate owners are the techie industry and venture capitalists.

by anon
Saturday May 3rd, 2014 9:09 AM
The future is stranger than you think.

In Seattle and King County, the voters just killed funding for the bus system.

(We need more funding because the 'big boys' don't pay taxes - i.e. Gov. Inslee's $8billion tax break give-away to Boeing. side note: Watch out California - Boeing is moving thousands of jobs to your state - I wonder what they are going to demand next before ditching you, too.)

So, the County can raise bus fares or kill off bus routes.

The rich and employed can still ride their private Microsoft buses or pay the higher fares on public transit or even (gasp) afford to drive a car.

The rest of us can wave as they ride by.

Strange twist on they get the gold and we get the shaft.
by Slidge
Saturday May 3rd, 2014 3:15 PM
Look at the pacific Northwest TechieBot dominated cities...You will see the beginning of safe, convenient Public Transit when and where only the privileged servants of the TechGiantCorps have the right to take subsidized transit with comfortable seats, security and high speed WiFi and the real people will all be walking or bicycling and dying by the dozens as they are run over by Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Apple busses.

Read Jack London's "The Iron Heel" a little dated by the basic predictions hold. If you are Not 1% you are servants of the 1% and if not that, You are scum.