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Look out, Manhattan, here we come!  With the once-mysterious giant gleaming white buses now embroiled in local controversy, San Francisco is becoming the national poster city for sky-high housing prices and income disparity.

The shiny commute buses used by Google, Facebook, Genentech and Apple have been cruising around the city for years now, generally using public bus stops to load and unload their valuable workers.  Sometimes, though, a bus isn't just a bus.  These buses represent a growing disparity between the haves and the have nots.  The buses have multiplied and so has the outrage.

At the simplest level, it's outrageous that the city has been letting these corporate buses use public bus stops for free.  I get a fat ticket if I park in a bus stop, why shouldn't Google and the others?  But really, this is about much more than a commute bus program.  The corporate bus controversy is really just the beginning of a conversation San Francisco, and every other city, must have about income disparities, affordable housing, the perils of privatization and livable cities.  Enjoy the cartoon, like, comment and share it with the other white bus in the lane next to you!  And as usual, you can find more links to the stories behind the cartoon at my website.

The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round.
The rents in the city go up, up, up, all through the town.

The buses get blamed, left and right, left and right, left and right.
Techies on the rise by day and night, all through the town.

Use the public stops almost for free, almost for free, almost for free.
Billionaires back the bus can't see, and don't make a sound.

One dollar for them, two dollars for you, two dollars for you, two dollars for you.
The public's yours and the private's theirs, don't confuse the two.

It's not all about the bus you see, the bus you see, the bus you see.
The income gap pits you and me, all over town.

The middle and low get squeezed on out, squeezed on out, squeezed on out.
The rents and sales go up, up, up, all over town.

The people in the 'hood go change-change-change, change-change-change, change-change-change.
It's happened before, back time and again, all over town.

The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round.
The rents in the city go up, up, up, all through the town.

Originally posted to Comics on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 06:50 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I blame the tech companies (6+ / 0-)

    They all piled into a startup city long after they were successful enough to move out to other places.

    Silicon Valley should have remained a hotbed of broke entrepeneurs, and any corp that made it with more than a hundred employees should have gone elsewhere.

    I'm ridiculously happy that I got a decent paying tech job in a little suburban town where we got a three bedroom house for $110K.  

    The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

    by catwho on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:04:33 AM PST

    •  that makes sense (16+ / 0-)

      lets pass a law that any successful company must move out of the city and leave the city center a wasteland.

      As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

      by BPARTR on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:32:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They were never in the city center to begin with (0+ / 0-)

        The problem is that their employees wanted to live in the city, but Silicon Valley is an hour away by car.

        I'm saying they should have spread out to other cities.  Microsoft is synonymous with Redmond, Washington, for example.  

        There's not exactly a shortage of real estate outside of drought ridden California.

        The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

        by catwho on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 11:12:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The issue is that techies (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peptabysmal, thanatokephaloides

          want to live in a "happening place", but instead of finding entrepreneurs who would make the South Bay a "happening place", opening clubs and restaurants and such, everyone runs away to San Francisco.

          But there'll be a shift over the next decade or so, I predict -- as the young techies get older and settle down and have kids, a lot of them are going to flee SF for the 'burbs, and that means the Peninsula and yes, Silicon Valley, so they can get a house with a yard and such.

          What bugs me is that the folks coming from SF have to have their own bus to insulate themselves from the General Public, instead of using existing infrastructure; there are already buses that run from Caltrain stations in Palo Alto and Mountain View and Sunnyvale that serve the major employment centers like Facebook, Google, and the like (both regular transit service and dedicated shuttles). Why not use those?

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 12:37:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not really true...or apropos (5+ / 0-)

            Some techies want to live in SF, others in Oakland, others on the peninsula. It's not as if everyone in the bay area lives near their work. I know folks driving in from Tracy and from Pleasanton - some do it because they can buy a house (which is very difficult in SF or Mountain View) and others do it because they have kids in school or neighborhoods that they feel a part of.

            The buses go all over, not just to San Francisco. And why should it bother you that their employers offer transit solutions? When you say that the tech workers take these buses to "insulate themselves from the General Public" that's a pretty big presumption. In many cases these buses are optimized to let the workers work during their commute. They are also more direct.

            It's also a false propositionthat if there weren't buses the workers would take public transit. Many would be in cars, making the commute worse than it already is for the rest of us.

            I'm amazed at how many people who are otherwise progressive don't value the ways that large companies like Google and Facebook are trying to support their employees. Getting them out of their cars and into transit is great.

            •  Ayep! (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              meinoregon, Andrew Lazarus

              I agree 98%. I'd say most (not many) workers would drive to work rather than take Caltrain (not a bad option and heavily used). Buses? I think that's what the tech firms are using, no? Well, if you mean public buses riding on city streets, I think you'd find the same employees back in their cars.

              One thing you didn't mention, Mr. Slate, is that the average job tenure in tech is low, low, low. Couple years is what it used to be, so even if you'd get a house in Redwood City and commute to SF, say like my son, and 5 years later you gots yer job in Sunnyvale, then San Jose, etc. You could burn up a lotta gas just driving back and forth.

              Not sure what eats people up about private buses - I suspect if public transit was really, really good like European subways/underground, you'd probably find people using them, like say, oh, BART: heavily used and vital today.

              Too bad San Mateo Cty. nixed putting BART through when they had the chance. Today those selfish piggies caused big, big, big traffic problems.

              What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

              by TerryDarc on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 02:50:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Great point about BART! (0+ / 0-)

                But still, even if BART ran from SF to Sunnyvale, you'd have the "last mile" problem the way you do with CalTrain.  Counting waiting time, it can take longer to get from a CalTrain station to, say, Facebook on SamTrans than it takes to get from SF to Menlo Park on the train.

                Nothing beats a bus that takes you directly to your employer's building from a spot fairly convenient to where you live.  I benefited from such an arrangement 50 years ago in Ottawa, where I caught a government-operated bus in the morning and rode directly to my summer job at the Defense Research Telecommunications Establishment outside of town.  In the late afternoon, the buses left the parking lot and took us back into the city.  It was a bummer having to put a project down in mid-flight, but there were no later buses, and Ottawa's public transit didn't run out that far.

            •  Did anyone in this conversation even watch the (0+ / 0-)

              video or read the words?

              It's not all about the bus you see, the bus you see, the bus you see.
              The income gap pits you and me, all over town.
              •  If it's not all about the bus (0+ / 0-)

                why make a cartoon about the bus?

                (With such painfully horrid music.)

                We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

                by dconrad on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:26:07 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  I don't get it (33+ / 0-)

    Admittedly I understand some small amount of mini-outrage that these buses likely should pay in some way for the usage of the bus stops, but beyond that...crickets?

    It is s good thing that these buses exist and workers aren't driving themselves.  It is a good thing that corporations are in some way donating to the public transit system in that they are allowing their workers to use it w/o using the buses themselves.  It allows income distribution to spread vs. concentrate more easily in an already overcrowded city.

    Again, I get it that they're using the public bus stops and likely the law should be adapted to offically define how this works, but of all the things to get outraged by this seems so very...well...dumb.

    Sorry.

    •  Also, you may get a ticket (9+ / 0-)

      if you park at a bus stop, but not if you pause there to let out a passenger. I think. The Google buses aren't actually parking there, are they?

      Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

      by Boundegar on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:11:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They sure seem to be parked (5+ / 0-)

        At least they are sitting in one place for quite a while.

        I sometimes take Golden Gate Transit down Lombard Street.  The bus driver has to move to the center lane to get around these big buses that are parked because they are so huge and the lanes on Lombard are not all that wide.  Obviously, buses and other trucks having to change lanes slows traffic and causes even more congestion.

        I also see a lot of employee shuttles in San Francisco (mostly to the various medical centers -- Kaiser, UC Med Center, Sutter Health).  Do businesses get tax credits or something to provide these shuttles?  Couldn't their employees be given vouchers to ride MUNI instead (and maybe as a result  of increased ridership get MUNI service expanded)?

        •  Maybe the private busses should carry anybody (0+ / 0-)

          who wants to go on their route -- employee or not.  The extra cost would be trivial.  Then people waiting at the bus stop could take any bus, public or private, that would get them to their destination.  

          We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

          by david78209 on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:50:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  They do (4+ / 0-)

            Not publicized but a legal requirement, so if you are at Glen Park or SSF BART, you can get a lift to Genentech.

          •  I hear this a lot but (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            david78209

            I wonder if anyone who has this idea thinks it through.

            Let's say the bus fills up with a mix of employees and non-employees but there's still a line with a mixed group. Does the bus driver kick off the non-employee? Does the employee have to wait for the next bus or go home if there aren't any others? Is this going to make anyone happy?

            And what about the insurance? How's that going to work?

            And what if people are working on the bus but their work is confidential? Do we just say you can't work on the bus anymore?

            Transit is an issue. It's going to be more of an issue as the area density increases. Traffic is going to come to a halt. Fortunately, some companies are doing what they can to address this with their commuter buses. It's imperfect but it's better than the alternative.

      •  This is incorrect. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dhl, Cali Scribe, peptabysmal, tubacat

        Here in San Francisco, Muni bus stops are "no stopping" zones.  That means you can be ticketed even if you just stop in the zone to let out a passenger.

        For your further information, the price of that ticket is $271 for a single infraction.  The tech company buses have been violating this law for years, and now they will be paying $1 to do something that would cost your average San Franciscan $271.

        Maybe this will give you a better sense of why people here are so angry.

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 10:25:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't see that many angry people (7+ / 0-)

          I see a small, angry, frustrated cadre trying to whip up a frenzy against upper-middle-class tech workers. Yeah, the buses should pay for use of the stops. A no-waiting rule should be enforced. Official depots should be established, and pickups on narrow streets prohibited. But the activists’ arguments make me believe they will still be upset after these minor issues are resolved.

          •  They will be. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            peptabysmal, tubacat

            Because the issues of rapidly increasing inequality and displacement of the city's longtime residents are anything but minor.

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 12:56:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes but why not target the Ellis Act? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              McWaffle, Andrew Lazarus

              To selectively target the busses when the real issue is inequality is not just scapegoating, but also will never produce real change. Push out some techies and longtime residents will stop being displaced? The real target should be the Ellis Act which allows evictions when properties are sold.

              "Stare at the monster: remark/ How difficult it is to define just what/ Amounts to monstrosity in that/ Very ordinary appearance." - Ted Hughes

              by MarkC on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 01:12:51 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Are the tech workers also residents? (0+ / 0-)

              Aren't the tech workers contributing to rapidly increasing inequality just by working and getting a decent paycheck? Is that actually a bad thing?

              We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

              by dconrad on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:31:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  And here's the funny thing (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Andrew Lazarus

            All of those little issues are already resolved or resolving. The corporate buses are working with SFMTA - there's an agreement and fee structure. And there is a no-waiting rule which apparently is enforced.

            This is essentially a non-issue. I'm really concerned that we're so focused on what's really essentially a good thing - companies looking for ways to get their workers to work that avoid individual cars.

        •  SAF Buses (0+ / 0-)

          Absolutely - This is a GREAT example of how supposedly "progressive" "new age" etc. companies think that they can appropriate the commons.  Hey, you foolish SFers who pay taxes for things like streets, public trans including bus stops - we're not going to contribute one F.....g dime to this outlay but we do DEMAND that we get to use these facilities - for free.

          Everyone who considers/talks about/blogs on/etc about this issue should think carefully about what this says re these so-called "do no evil" companies.  And I don't even live in SF - but  if I did, I'll give you 2 guesses as to where I'd be.

        •  Thank you. (0+ / 0-)

          I understand.

          Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

          by Boundegar on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:29:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  exactly (10+ / 0-)

      If the public good is served by mass transit, than public or private is irrelevant.  All the outerage is misplaced- while I might not be able to stop or park in a bus stop, the fact that private buses do actually makes my commute easier by reducing the number of single occupant cars.  I should be rejoicing.

      As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

      by BPARTR on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:35:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  ALL the outrage is not misplaced. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, thm, peptabysmal

        If you read the extended article at Mark's blog, you'll find that these busses not only use public bus stops (whether they pay the city for the privilege is not really known), but that the busses sit in the public bus stops for extended periods, presumably waiting for the company's employees to show up, blocking the public busses from being able to use the bus stop.  Public busses are having to stop in a traffic lane, or not stop at all, for their riders.  These corporate busses should really have their own bus stops, even though that would be extremely expensive, would certainly require permission from the city council and would further limit on-street parking in an already cramped city.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:26:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Private vs. Public transit (8+ / 0-)

      I think part of the issue is that when a company creates its own private mass transit network, it can erode support for public mass transit.  San Francisco isn't Houston, or even LA, with a limited mass transit infrastructure.  But if the people who are savvy enough and have enough spare time and who would otherwise ride public mass transit, are given the option of free transit, they'll take it.  They remove themselves from the public system, it fades from their conscience.  They then no longer advocate for improvements that could benefit all people.  Even if they weren't actively advocating for public transit services, their removal to private transit may cool demand for public transit enough that services may be reduced, leaving the people dependent on public transit out in the cold.  Of course, they're also no longer paying fares.

      Throw in that these private bus lines probably parallel public lines, and the stratospheric salaries of the workers on those buses, and now it's a class issue.  It's also very easy to resent the Young Masters of the Universe when they know their worth more readily than their position.

      "Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom." -- G.W.Carver

      by northbronx on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:37:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do the buses really run non-commuter routes? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stomv, david78209

        As somebody who rides the bus to a suburban tech campus (not in SF), I can tell you that I ride the bus because I don't drive. So, when I'm not going to work, I still ride the bus. I figure these people commute on the Google bus and then would take public transit anywhere else they'd be going.

        "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

        by McWaffle on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:40:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They can afford Uber (4+ / 0-)

          Seriously, I ride MUNI all the time as I do not have a car here in the city. And the majority of people I see riding the buses here do not earn 6-figure incomes at tech companies to put it politely.

          Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

          by kimoconnor on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:46:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Probably not (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TerryDarc

          Many Google buses run longer distances than people like for a commute, and right now, software engineers are in demand and can change jobs if the want to. The buses have WiFi and the opportunity to start the workday while traveling—they are a definite incentive for employees who would otherwise face a grueling commute. Many of these workers have their own cars.

          •  If a bus is running from (0+ / 0-)

            the Central Valley or maybe Marin/Sonoma, I can get that argument. But the buses from San Francisco are directly duplicating existing public transit, namely Caltrain. Maybe with that increased ridership, Caltrain would be able to upgrade their system to provide mobile WiFi on the trains. Or, if it's enough of a hassle to get to/from work, some employees might decide the trade-off of living closer to their jobs leads to a better quality of life.

            There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

            by Cali Scribe on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 12:43:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well it's not really that simple (0+ / 0-)

              Everyone is looking for a good job, and it's folly to think that people weren't commuting all around the bay area way before any buses were involved.

              It's also kind of a lot to expect people to ride Caltrain so that maybe they'll someday upgrade their system. Can't we have some compassion for the situations working people find themselves in, even if they're at Google or Facebook?

      •  "Young masters of the universe?" Ahhh... (8+ / 0-)

        the people who ride the company buses are workers. They make relatively high salaries because they have specialized skills that are in great demand.
           They are qualitatively different from the banksters.
            If someone wants to join that coterie of high earners, she has every possibility of doing so by learning one of those in-demand highly specialized skills.
            The argument that private commuter buses reduces support for public transportation is silly. The folks who are riding the commuter buses would otherwise drive their cars.
            While I agree that income is not equitably distributed in this economy, I think that it is perverse to hate on working people because they have found a way to earn decent salaries.

        •  They are quantitatively different as well. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ferg, polecat, Whatithink, TerryDarc

          There's a big difference between a 100k-a-year software developer and a multi-million-a-year derivatives trader. Plus I'm fairly sure that non-development employees (technical communications, division operations, quality assurance testers, et al) start at <100k, and they're probably bussing too.

          Are their Google millionaires? Obviously, but it's not them on the busses.

          "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

          by McWaffle on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:28:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not even going to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cali Scribe

          go into how really, not everyone can learn one of those "in-demand highly specialized skills" that gets one a gig at Google.  Do you really want to go on the topic of (un)equal access to educational opportunity?

          Maybe the engineers are qualitatively different than the banksters.  But young men with a lot of money -- $100k still qualifies as a lot of money -- and very little experience of the world outside their bubble are going to be similar in some fundamental and not very attractive ways.

          "Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom." -- G.W.Carver

          by northbronx on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 11:05:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So us (4+ / 0-)

            young, male, professional liberals are worthy of your scorn?

            And we wonder why Repukes have a fucking monopoly the word "opportunity"...

            Check your envy.

          •  Google has restaurants, gyms, child care (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tomsank

            Not everyone who works there is a computer genius. And those people need to get to their place of work too.

            I really don't see how the difficulty of people from disadvantaged backgrounds getting a good education relates to the bus system. Should Google shut down its child care because millions of Americans don't have affordable child care?

          •  Why on earth would you say that they (0+ / 0-)

            have very little experience of the world outside their bubble? That's an incredibly dismissive and presumptuous thing to say. I work in the tech industry, with people making those kinds of salaries, and I have worked with people from all walks of life. One of the best developers I know was raised on a dairy farm. Some of them come from the other side of the planet. Most of them come from solid middle-class backgrounds. And the vast majority of them are liberals. And there is an enormous difference between them and the banksters. They actually create something with their labor, whereas the banksters are just skimming off the top.

            Plus, it might not be the case that absolutely everyone can learn one of those "in-demand highly specialized skills", but nearly anyone can. All it takes is a decent grade school math and science education. The amount of resources available free online to learn it is overwhelming. In fact, one of the biggest problems is that there are so many resources, it's hard to filter out the good ones. It's true that most jobs ask for a bachelor's degree, but they almost always accept equivalent experience, and I know people who have been successful in the tech field with no degree (myself, for instance).

            We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

            by dconrad on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:43:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  But at the same time, (0+ / 0-)

          working people who aren't making high salaries are priced out of living in San Francisco, and have to make long commutes to their jobs without the benefit of a private bus. Think about the servers at the trendy restaurants where the tech workers like to eat out on the weekends, or the bartenders at the clubs.

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 12:46:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, it really sucks (0+ / 0-)

            that there are business in the area that pay good salaries, and those trendy restaurants and clubs have patrons that are creating demand with their dollars. Hopefully we can eliminate all of that.

            We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

            by dconrad on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:46:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Riders on the corporate busses pay (0+ / 0-)

        for their rides, although at lower rates than they would pay if they rode MUNI busses.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:30:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You do realize these busses are REQUIRED by law? (10+ / 0-)

        Many of these bus lines are required by the California Environmental Quality Act to reduce traffic impacts and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which they do quite admirably.  In fact, the public is asking private companies to pick up the tab for these mass transit users, and as an alternative the public transit system would have to run lines out to the corporate campuses along the bay for waht are somewhat limited public benefit.  If they did that, we'd be hearing up set about how public money is spent to support private companies.

        I will tell you one thing:  dumping those people in single occupancy vehicles would be the absolute worst of all possible outcomes

        •  I did not (0+ / 0-)

          realize that these buses are REQUIRED by law.  I have no dog in this fight.  I do agree that bus transit is a much better option than single occupancy vehicles.

          I can also see where the class resentment comes from.  Maybe I can't express it well, but I do understand it.

          "Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom." -- G.W.Carver

          by northbronx on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 10:59:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well (0+ / 0-)

            I do understand resentment, but I think these busses are a poor target.  Of course when people start forming economic opinions the environment is usually quickly forgotten

          •  Hi there northbronx (0+ / 0-)

            From your moniker I suspect you live in NYC rather than the Bay Area.  I've never been to New York but have gathered from Atlantic Cities and other online sources that its mass transit system is pervasive.  That's not true here in the S.F. Bay Area.  We're so fragmented it's pitiful.

            The San Francisco Municipal Railway ("Muni") provides bus, light rail and trolley service within the city limits of S.F. only.  BART runs one line diagonally thru S.F., underground downtown and above ground farther southwest.  It extends into San Mateo County to Daly City and even the S.F. airport (a recently added extension).  It runs under the bay to Oakland, Berkeley and many points beyond, and runs down the northeast side of S.F. Bay as far as Fremont.  But BART doesn't go as far as San Jose (the largest city in Santa Clara County, and indeed larger than S.F.)

            Before it was Silicon Valley, the area to the north and west of San Jose was known as the Santa Clara Valley or "the valley of heart's delight", home to orchards and wineries.  It was developed in the era of L.A.-style car-culture sprawl with no thought for the kind of density that makes public transit work in S.F. (and Toronto, another city I'm familiar with).  San Jose has a light rail system but it's a white elephant because the local infrastructure simply doesn't support public transit no matter how you build it.  The best I can say for it is that it uses standard railway gauge, so that someday, when CalTrain (which runs up the peninsula from San Jose to S.F.) is electrified, it could interoperate with San Jose's light rail.

    •  let 'em use the bus stops (6+ / 0-)

      the tech-buses are keeping cars off the roads and reducing air pollution

      Income disparity is a separate issue, and deserving of outrage.  More and stronger unions will go a long way to solving that problem.

      •  So a wheelchair-bound passenger (0+ / 0-)

        has to go out in the middle of traffic to board their MUNI bus because a private bus is blocking the bus stop -- assuming that MUNI bus even stops? Let them establish their own stops (and pay for the privilege), or pay to use the MUNI stops and schedule their buses so they interfere with regular MUNI service as little as possible, and no sitting and waiting. MUNI could use the extra income to help improve service, maintain the bus stops, etc.

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 12:50:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  There is more to it (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Cali Scribe, Whatithink, GRLionsFan

      than just the free use, up to extremely recently, of the Muni bus stops and forcing people waiting for public transit to have to walk into the street to board their buses, and of blocking the ability to get to a BART station, etc. etc.

      Several posters have noted that we are seeing the development of a public vs private transit system. And I agree with this assessment. Yes, I understand that public transportation did not serve the various "campuses" and that Google, Apple, Genentech, Facebook, et al are trying to be good citizens and supply their workers with a way to get to work without putting more evil noxious carbon imprinting private cars on the road. Hooray for these enlightened corporate entities!

      That said-- once these powerful companies saw the need (and a need there is, due to the old Car is King world that created an environment of  areas that are ridiculously underserved by public transportation), they created a limousine service using "secret" routes. These good corporate citizens didn't say, "hey, let's use our very powerful and listened to voices to improve this piss-poor situation for the Bay Area and reduce carbon emissions everywhere AND get our employees to work.

      Instead, housing costs on these special corridors went through the roof. People who just wanted to get to and from their non-Silicon Valley and Peninsula tech jobs had to work around these giant limousines, and so forth.

      And there is more to it than that still, but I will stop here and ask IQof20 (and the recommenders of this post) why they are not only defensive about this situation, but calling the response to something which is, in essence, the "last straw" and an easily recognizable symbol because it is ubiquitous and a pain in the ass to work around if you are excluded from riding it (ie "the rest of us") "very...well...dumb"?

      Thanks for being "Sorry," though. :)

      Darling, you didn't use canned salmon, did you?

      by JrCrone on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:27:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Many of those areas (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JrCrone

        are not as underserved as you might think -- Caltrain runs an extensive series of shuttles from their stations to various employment centers, and anyone is free to ride (though getting back to Caltrain during non-peak hours can be problematic from some centers). Local transit districts such as SamTrans and VTA also have bus routes that serve employment centers. I'd like to see more incentive for companies to center their development around existing transit infrastructure or contribute more to extend infrastructure to their campus area (thus spurring additional development, both business and residential).

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 12:57:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for updating (0+ / 0-)

          my admittedly poor knowledge of the current status of public transportation service on the Peninsula!

          Agree absolutely on increasing the incentives as you describe.

          Darling, you didn't use canned salmon, did you?

          by JrCrone on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 01:30:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  This post is an example... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Andrew Lazarus

        of really why I feel this to be overblown in truth.  I do get the frustration, but this one issue isn't the center of a conspiracy of problems.  

        I could as easily state how shoes are an example of corporatism and an attempt to exclude the shoeless from society.  No service for me?  And don't get me started on shirts!

        I would guess that my and others' dismissal of this is that:

        A) Mass transit is a good thing
        B) Everyone is already benefitting from this (less traffic)
        C) The infraction is minimal
        D) Solutions are easily defineable

        I certainly don't believe you'd be wrong to pursue some method to unify the public/private offerings better.  And private buses arguably causing issues w/ public loading sure seems like an easy thing to just simply get legislated.  But this feels less like class warfare and more like a company acting in its interests in one of the least offensive methods that most of us can imagine.  

        I travel to SF/SJ/Fremont enough to at least be familiar the issue w/ traffic out there, but I live in the midwest where companies are dumping piles of toxic sludge upwind of me and claiming it's Koch Classic.  So I suppose my outrage meter barely registers for this.  Not that it doesn't, but...come on.

        This isn't class warfare, it is just a company taking the easiest path to solve a problem they perceive in one of the least offensive ways imaginable.  If you want them to act differently, then just work to change legislation to put in some extra taxes that you earmark to expand public bus stops which essentially removes the problem.

        Except it is all class warfare and rising cost of living and tech workers are all Googillionaires (tm)...sigh...and that's why I said it seemed...dumb.  Just put in some fees and move on.  

    •  No, no, and no (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dhl, kimoconnor
      It is s good thing that these buses exist and workers aren't driving themselves.
      Actually, according to a survey done of the workers who use these buses, about a third of them wouldn't be living in San Francisco if the bus services didn't exist.  They'd be living closer to their jobs, thus eliminating the need for a commute.  Others surveyed said they would take existing public transportation, so as far as they are concerned, it's a loss for the public transportatin system.  Which leads to the next point . . .
      It is a good thing that corporations are in some way donating to the public transit system in that they are allowing their workers to use it w/o using the buses themselves.
      These corporations aren't "donating" to the public transit system.  They're paying an absurdly small price to use bus stops that are the property of Muni, the city's actual public transit system.  As I said below, if a regular citizen stopped his car in a bus zone, he'd be fined $271 for the infraction.  We could raise a lot more money if the city just wrote tickets every time one of these tech buses broke the law by blocking a Muni stop.
      It allows income distribution to spread vs. concentrate more easily in an already overcrowded city.
      I have no idea what this even means.  The tech buses are one reason highly paid tech workers are able to live here in San Francisco rather than in the south bay area where their jobs are located.  The influx of these workers has resulted in record numbers of evictions of low-income tenants from their apartments in the city.  The older residents are displaced by younger, much more affluent tech company employees.  So far from distributing income, it's making the city increasingly unequal.

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 10:35:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Backwards thinking (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nextstep, Whatithink, TerryDarc
        Actually, according to a survey done of the workers who use these buses, about a third of them wouldn't be living in San Francisco if the bus services didn't exist.  They'd be living closer to their jobs, thus eliminating the need for a commute.
        Would you guys make up your minds? They might not be living closer to their jobs, housing in Palo Alto and Mountain View and Sunnyvale isn't cheap either. More likely they would be driving in from further away in Danville, clogging the roads and polluting the air. Or they might be living in some other city entirely working for some other company. That would be just great for the local economy, right?

        I agree the buses should pay much more for using the stops. After that, what will you kvetch about.

        The politics of resentment isn't pretty.

        •  Spoken like a true Republican: (0+ / 0-)
          The politics of resentment isn't pretty.
          What's next?  An accusation of our engaging in "class warfare"?

          If those riding the buses would just drive to their jobs if the buses didn't exist, then perhaps their employers might consider a novel idea -- supporting the construction of cheap and reliable public transportation that would meet the needs not only of their employees, but of the population as a whole.  What Google and the other companies are doing is just one more example of privatization.  They're using their vast financial resources to buy their employees out of a problem that affects the public at large -- the state of the local and regional public transit system.

          As to what we'll kvetch about if the tech companies start paying more for their intrusion into the operation of the city's public transit system, I can give you a long list.

          We'll kvetch about the displacement of longtime residents who are being evicted under the Ellis Act.

          We'll kvetch about how elderly and disabled people are being forced out of their homes so that landlords can charge sky-high rents that only the very affluent can afford to pay.

          We'll kvetch about the loss of diversity in the city as wealthy, almost exclusively white tech workers push low-income brown people out of the city.

          We'll kvetch about the disappearance of the artists and eccentrics who have made this city the special place it is.

          That's what we'll kvetch about, whether you think such subjects are worthy of your concern or not.

          "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

          by FogCityJohn on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 12:55:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I guess Chinese and Indians are honorary whites (0+ / 0-)

            because that's the only way I can make sense of

            We'll kvetch about the loss of diversity in the city as wealthy, almost exclusively white tech workers push low-income brown people out of the city.
            I'm still a little confused what you are demanding. More taxes on high-paid workers? Fine, although California already has the top state marginal income tax rate, sales tax is high, and young tech workers are not eligible for Prop 13 serendipity. (You do realize, of course, that flat-out repeal of Prop 13 would be a disaster for low-income homeowners, although there are ways to ameliorate the problem.)

            Somehow, though, you seem less into tax increases or corporate in-lieu-of programs than envy. Some law requiring Apple and Google to pay software engineers less?

            As I said before, a small, angry cadre. And, to be honest, I'm not even sure it reflects the needs or wishes of residents whose employment prospects are improved by the rebound in the Bay Area economy.

            •  Um . . . (0+ / 0-)

              Have you followed the number of evictions in the Mission and Chinatown?  Do you have any idea what's going on in this city?  Yes, nonwhite residents are being forced out, whether you're aware of it or not.

              What I'm demanding is protection for people whose economic circumstances leaves them vulnerable to losing the homes they've lived in for years.  Part of this is the result of extreme economic inequality, because those being displaced simply cannot compete with the financial resources of those displacing them.  So yeah, achieving a more equitable distribution of wealth through progressive taxation would certainly be a start.

              That you equate a desire for economic fairness with "envy" tells me everything I need to know about your position.

              "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

              by FogCityJohn on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 03:13:11 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  But the evictions aren't buses (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Andrew Lazarus

                And that's where we are having this disconnect.  I get the problem you have w/ the Ellis Act, but the buses are such a stretch to connect to this that it is strange.

                •  Sigh (0+ / 0-)

                  Not really. Since the buses allow lots of affluent tech workers to live in San Francisco when they otherwise wouldn't, they're part of the reason for the run up in rents and property values. This has been extensively discussed here in the local media, so it's anything but a stretch.

                  "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                  by FogCityJohn on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 12:49:47 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Did a quick check (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TerryDarc

          Lowest I found for a 1BR/1BA in SF was about $2100. We're paying a little under $1600 for a 1BR/1BA, walking distance to Caltrain, several bus routes, and the Murphy Avenue restaurant district and Saturday farmer's market. (Proximity to public transit was the main reason we chose this place.) Ride Caltrain one stop north and you can get a shuttle to Google, Microsoft and several other employment centers. You can walk to a bus line that goes to light rail and access Cisco and several other companies -- you can even get to the 49ers new stadium site and not worry about getting pulled over for DUI after the game next season. Or take that $500 you're saving and use part of it to lease a Prius (I'd love to see some tax incentives for apartment complexes to provide charging stations for plug-in electrics) if you have to drive.

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 01:13:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What will happen to those rents when (0+ / 0-)

            that one-third of the tech bus riders in SF decide to move closer to their jobs? And even $1600 is major money.

            •  We have seen that movie already (0+ / 0-)

              back in the last 1990s, when the short-lived Internet bubble brought everyone who could spell HTML to Silicon Valley.  At the time, my son was an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz, and even there, rents were being driven to ridiculous levels by tech workers commuting to Silicon Valley across Highway 17 (the commute from Hell, BTW).

  •  They are not the problem (36+ / 0-)

    High tech workers who ride these busses are not the problem. The busses aren't even the problem.

    The economic disparity in this country is not the product of the high tech white collar workers, and pitting us against each other is on,y a distraction.

    Mass transit is a GOOD thing.

    Yes, Google and the rest of these companies should be paying the city more for the use of the bus stops, but instead of trying to find ways to tear down the worker bees at Google, work on building up the worker bees at Walmart.

    Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them - Thomas Jefferson 30 July, 1816

    by Roiling Snake Ball on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:08:26 AM PST

  •  Big fan... (14+ / 0-)

    but this is such a non-controversy controversy.  Stick to real problems, or at least the true sources of the problems.

  •  We should tax the hell out of these companies (0+ / 0-)

    To build a better transit system that serves everyone, not just the air-conditioned millionaires in their wi-fi busses.

    Secondly, why do tech firms not move to cities where people in their 20s actually want to live (i.e. get laid.) Their commitment to suburban "campuses" 60 miles from a vibrant city is ridiculous.

    "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

    by greendem on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:14:13 AM PST

    •  Many of the executives do not want to live here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew Lazarus

      in the city however, and they make the decisions on where their offices are. But I don't blame the workers who prefer to live here in SF than in Mountain View or some other suburb.

      Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

      by kimoconnor on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:37:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, they're doing this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew Lazarus

      many start ups do.  However, a number of the more established ones, such as Google, HP, Apple and the like are located where they are because Stanford University is where it is.  Now, there's a critical mass of such companies that support each other.

      The city of SF is developing a second social/creative media hub that occupies a different space than the older tech giants.

  •  I see both sides. (8+ / 0-)

    I wasn't aware these buses parked in bus stops.  I can understand that maybe they shouldn't.  But I also see resentment of haves and have nots here.  I think companies providing transportation for their employees is a good thing.  Having lived in SF, I know there is always a group of people who prefer to not agree with anything.  Professional outrage folk who really seem to live for disharmony over ever settling anything.  Don't get me wrong.  I still live in N. Cal but prefer visiting SF to living there.

  •  Really? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask, trumpeter, stomv, Eric Hopp
    I get a fat ticket if I park in a bus stop, why shouldn't Google and the others?  
    So if you share commuting with your car and stop to drop of a friend at a bus stop near his or her workplace you will get a ticket? Parking in a bus stop is one thing, using it to get off the road to drop someone off is another.

    To be first in the soil, which erupts in the coil, of trees veins and grasses all brought to a boil. -- The Maxx

    by notrouble on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:17:51 AM PST

    •  Some above said you don't for dropping (0+ / 0-)

      a passenger off.

      "Harass us, because we really do pay attention. Look at who's on the ballot, and vote for the candidate you agree with the most. The next time, you get better choices." - Barney Frank

      by anonevent on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:20:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Shouldn't we be encouraging companies to do this? (11+ / 0-)

    I'm sorry, but like a couple of other commenters, I don't see the problem.  In fact, from what I know about transportation issues and efforts to mitigate global warming, shouldn't we be encouraging companies -- whether high-tech or low-tech or no-tech -- to provide such mass transit options to their employees?  Get more cars off the road, get people to work in a more timely and energy efficient manner, and give some incentives for other companies to do the same.

    •  My company has vans pick up people in Manhattan (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, MKSinSA

      Employees have to pay a certain amount to take the van which drops off and picks up at certain times.  My office is in NJ and is not on a train route.  It can be difficult to use mass transit if you have to commute within NJ or in the outer boroughs because the train routes tend to be set up to get people in and out of Manhattan on routes that have been there for many years.  While there may be bus service nearby it isn't very convenient.  At the end of the day these vans reduce traffic congestion by limiting car usage.  Overall I think that is a good thing.  Ideally we would have good planning with transit corridors set up to maximize transit usage.  But to my knowledge we've had almost no new train routes in close to 100 yrs other than the light rail systems along the Hudson (limited run of track) and along the Delaware River between Trenton and Camden.  Years ago we had significant interurban routes.  Long gone because of dependence on cars.  

      •  You might have had a new train tunnel (0+ / 0-)

        to take the load off the George Washington bridge, but Chris Christie killed it, thereby gladdening the hearts of all those anti-government Rethugs who were touting him for President before he put his foot in it with those lane closures.

  •  Public transport in this country is a joke (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kimoconnor, shaharazade

    Unless of course your company/neighborhood is wealthy and can pay for the public to pay for it!

    Same thing around here.  Poor neighborhoods get 2 buses a day.

    Tourist area gets one every 15 minutes.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:19:58 AM PST

    •  You don't get to SF much, do you? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mindful Nature, JeffW, Neo Control

      The public transit network is expansive and frequent, whether you're in the tourist district or the residential zones south and west.

      But don't let that spoil a good diatribe....

      •  Unless you're trying to get outside SF. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ferg, Eric Hopp, thm, Andrew Lazarus

        In which case, the surrounding counties can't pull their heads out of their asses for long enough to actually make it so one can get into or out of the city without it taking 3 different transit lines and 2+ hours.

        Don't even get me started how BART doesn't even run until the bars close.

        Muni's quite expansive and pretty good.  Muni also doesn't run to Mountain View, Menlo Park, Emeryville, etc.

        Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

        by The Technomancer on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:43:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  SHHH... we're talking rich people areas, now. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kimoconnor

          And 2+ hours is perfectly reasonable to go 20 miles.  It's faster than walking, after all!

          And really, what other choice do you have?

          /snark

          I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

          by detroitmechworks on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:47:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  It is about not mingling with the masses (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stomv, JrCrone, JeffW

    I can't imagine why they can't just do what we do, which is to provide bus and train service from centralized parking to various business and professional hubs.  Everyone takes the same transport.  It was good enough for me as a kid, it was good enough for me when I was commuting to my job in the suburbs, and it continues to be good enough.

    However, I can see how for some people mingling with the masses would be distasteful.  For instance, I recall one instance where I saw a well dressed white women tell a casually dressed black man that this bus was not for him.  It might have been a private bus, I don't know, and maybe he did not know.  It is not uncommon for those of us who ride the bus to enter any bus at any bus stop and ask the driver for help.  I have never had a driver not help me figure out where I want to go.

    Which is really my problem with this.  Even if the buses are paying a fee to use the stop, it still violates the spirit of public transport.  Now, I am not saying that every bus on the street has be a public bus.  But to me there is public contract between a bus at a public stop and the public.  It is like school buses don't pick up kids at public bus stops. They pick kids up at schools, and in my case, a random street corner near my house.

    So this is all very confusing to me, because on one hand I can see that busing like this benefits everyone, but special buses just seems to me like an effort to segregate.

    •  Does the public transit system serve the campus? (5+ / 0-)

      If it doesn't, isn't this all kinda a moot point? Because that route is always going to be one-way traffic (to work in the morning, from work in the evening) the bus is going to be half full most of the time. So, the city won't turn a profit on it. So, either the city subsidizes Google by running busses at a loss, or Google subsidizes the city by running its own bus and/or paying a fraction of that route's operating cost.

      My company does the latter, so maybe that's better because the bus is still nominally a public bus, despite the fact that 99% of riders are employees. Ultimately though, I'm shocked that riding a bus is now some kinda swanky elite thing to do.

      "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

      by McWaffle on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:44:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think someone mentioned that Muni don't (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mindful Nature

        have service to tech centers  (Mountain View for one) directly (quick glance at the transit system in the area appears to be that they'll need several transfers). So the tech buses just provided a more direct route that may/may not be profitable for Muni to maintain.

        •  Multiple-transfer commutes are tough (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TomFromNJ, Andrew Lazarus

          particularly for employees working 8+ hours a day. Makes it hard to get to work on time, to get home at a reasonable hour, etc... If there's some kind of delay and you miss a transfer, your SOL.

          That's true no matter whether you work at Google or Walmart.

          "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

          by McWaffle on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:51:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  thousands of people do it everyday (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            McWaffle, JrCrone, Cali Scribe

            they just are not working for the tech companies, but working for minimum wage in retail or other service jobs.
            I'll hold my breath for retail and restaurants and hotels etc. to start busing their workers in from Oakland and other lower priced areas outside of the city. How do you think they get here?

            Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

            by kimoconnor on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:15:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think we disagree. (0+ / 0-)

              I'm all for improved public transit. It'd be preferable for Google et al. to subsidize/provide public transit, rather than private transit. Although it'd raise people's hackles as competing with the public service/privatization of public utilities/etc...

              "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

              by McWaffle on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:21:46 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Jobs in SF itself (0+ / 0-)

              tend to need at most one transfer, BART or AC Transit to Muni. Mountain View? Ouch. You need dedicated express service or it's impossible.

            •  So why aren't we protesting at WalMart (0+ / 0-)

              and trying to get them to engage in this issue?

              I find this whole conversation to be a liberal version of the race to the bottom.

              Some companies that are growing and need great workers are trying to help those workers solve their commute problems. Instead of seeing that as a step forward, we want to pull them back.

              •  We aren't protesting at Walmart because (0+ / 0-)

                Walmart (of which I'm no fan) is not flooding S.F. with highly-paid tech workers who drive up everyone else's rents.  I seem to recall that S.F. has an ordinance that prevents Walmart from moving in there, so it's confined to the suburban counties.  And I doubt that too many of the workers at the Walmart in Mountain View commute from S.F.

                That said, I totally sympathize with those tech workers (a category to which I belonged, pre-retirement) wanting to live in a cool, walkable city where restaurants have a "third seating" after 11:00pm, rather than in the burbs where even destinations like University Ave. in Palo Alto shut down before midnight.

        •  MUNI is only within city limits (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mindful Nature

          You can take CalTrain to get to the area where these campuses are. They could just pick up workers at this stop vs. driving all over the city in buses. But as McWaffle mentions below to get to the station in SF one may need to take two different buses, then transfer to the train and then to a shuttle bus.

          BART does not go far enough south to work for these campuses.

          Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

          by kimoconnor on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:06:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are shuttles to CalTrain stations (0+ / 0-)

            But, as you mention, this is no use to East Bay residents, for whom getting to CalTrain is a multi-transfer nightmare. It's not much better for residents of the outer districts of SF, either.

            •  Depending on where you are (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Edmund Xu

              in the East Bay, it's not super hard -- AC Transit runs buses across the San Mateo Bridge to serve the Hillsdale Caltrain Station and also service to Stanford University (including a stop at Palo Alto Caltrain). From Union City BART there's the Dumbarton Express which runs right by Facebook HQ on its way to Palo Alto Caltrain. And if you don't mind going around the end of the Bay there's VTA routes 180 and 181 which take you into downtown San Jose and connects to light rail (and in several years there'll be the BART extension into San Jose which will connect to light rail and buses).

              As for outer districts of San Francisco, there are express buses that get residents into the city center during peak commute times...and most likely many of those residents would have to get into city center to catch the special commute buses anyway.

              There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

              by Cali Scribe on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 01:27:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Map of private bus lines (0+ / 0-)

                Googled for it. So they do serve the Richmond and Sunset districts without the ride into downtown.

                Yeah, it's theoretically possible to get to a Caltrain station from the East Bay—and for most commuters, two transfers just to get to Caltrain, and who knows what after that.

        •  You can do it with a minimum (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kimoconnor

          of two transfers:

          MUNI to Caltrain (if you live on a route that serves Caltrain directly)
          Caltrain to Mountain View Station then Shoreline Shuttle

          MUNI can't provide service directly to Google (for example) because it's out of their service area. We're talking two counties away. But the private buses take fare box revenue out of MUNI's pocket and out of Caltrain's pocket -- and in this era where Republicans are looking to cut as much out of transit (and any other service that actually serves ordinary people), transit systems can't really afford to lose potential riders.

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 01:22:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Why not make an express line then? (0+ / 0-)

        And let everyone who wants to go down the peninsula get on the bus?

        You make stops at big transit hubs, say, even 3 or 4, and voila.

        Darling, you didn't use canned salmon, did you?

        by JrCrone on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:32:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  "The spirit of public transport?" Really? (0+ / 0-)
  •  Google now pays to use the bus stops (6+ / 0-)

    "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

    by nightsweat on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:24:46 AM PST

  •  Wouldn't it be a bigger issue (6+ / 0-)

    if the city-run busses ran routes that only served the Google campus? Then it'd be spending public funds to just get people to Google?

    I take the bus every day to work for a non-SF tech company. The route is technically a city route, but it's subsidized by the company. That seems a pretty good middle ground. The only people on it usually are employees but other people can take it if they're heading that way.

    "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

    by McWaffle on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:29:07 AM PST

    •  You've got problems with jurisdiction (0+ / 0-)

      Google is about 30 miles away or so, in Mountain View in Santa Clara County. MUNI only serves SF and portions of northern San Mateo County (such as Daly City BART). You would also have the costs of procuring the running stock, plus storage and maintenance.

      Santa Clara Valley Transportation Agency (aka VTA, Mr. Scribe's former employer) recently acquired some new equipment dedicated to longer distance express routes; they have high back seats, mobile WiFi on the bus, and other minor amenities. But they're not private buses -- anyone can ride them if they pay the express bus fare.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 01:33:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is about way more than the buses (5+ / 0-)

    Or even the tech workers themselves. Hell, if I was 25 I would much prefer to live here in SF than in the suburbs. And if my company offered a free ride, hell, I would take it.

    What is happening is that middle class and low income folks are getting pushed out. We are a small city, only 49 sq miles. But we need more housing, the city is not too crowded.

    This is also about the income disparity and how the haves seem to think that the have nots simply do not deserve to live in the city. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people say I have no right to live here if I cannot afford a rent of $3500 a month.

    In my opinion a great city needs all sorts of people, of differing backgrounds and income levels etc. I moved to the Mission area over 20 years ago and have loved the diversity and culture, even as it has changed. I just want to see all sorts of people have the opportunity to live here who wish to. Is that so bad?

    Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

    by kimoconnor on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:30:36 AM PST

    •  The problem you describe isn't about buses at all (5+ / 0-)

      The problem you describe is about too little housing. As SF gains more housing, prices will stabilize. Even if the new housing is "luxury condos" it will have a domino effect on housing prices for homes less than luxurious.

      I wonder though (I'm in an old East Coast city with similar dynamics): are the same people who complain about the buses also complaining about gentrification? About tearing down old buildings to build bigger ones in their place? About losing the character of their neighborhood?

      If you want lower housing prices in a small, wonderful place like San Francisco, you need more homes. The only way that can happen is if the city removes barriers to developing many-story buildings for housing.

      •  gentrification does not only = high rises (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Technomancer, Cali Scribe

        where the condos sell for well over $1 million, or where they get $10,000 a month for an apartment in the Mission district.

        As Fiore shows in his cartoon, things have been changing in the city forever.

        Yes, we need more housing, but I am not so sure only offering high end offerings will do a damn thing to bring down rent elsewhere. We need more housing that INCLUDES below market rate apartments for those with low incomes. Even at $11 an hour minimum wage, it is not possible to afford to even share a 2-bedroom apt here anymore.

        Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

        by kimoconnor on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:58:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Housing prices ARE a real problem (0+ / 0-)

          And not just in the city -- in the whole metro region.

          The bus outrage is stupid.

          Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

          by The Technomancer on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:10:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I said it was not about the buses (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            The Technomancer, peptabysmal

            or even the tech workers, I don't blame them.

            But it is about us deciding what kind of city we want, and who we think deserves to live here.

            I am sick of hearing that I have no right to live here, as if I am simply unworthy due to lack of high income.

            Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

            by kimoconnor on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:12:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Anyone that tells you that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kimoconnor

              ...is an asshole, plain and simple.

              I think we're in agreement there.

              If you're ever around SOMA during the afternoon, shoot me a message or something.  I'll grab us lunch and we can kvetch about the city.

              Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

              by The Technomancer on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:15:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well I see it all the time (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                The Technomancer

                It is a common attitude even if they do not say it in exactly those words.

                And you should join the local SF Kossacks group, we meet up all the time, though not everyone lives in the city. And I would be happy to meet up some time, in fact I am meeting another Kossack at Harvey's in the Castro today, if you are able to get there. (not easy from all parts of SOMA on public transportation funny enough).

                Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

                by kimoconnor on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:18:44 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm sure you do. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kimoconnor

                  Don't get me wrong, I'm not discounting what you're experiencing at all.  I've worked with some of the sandiest assholes on the planet in this industry.

                  I'll check the group out once I get into the office.  Castro's a stretch for something during the day, but I'll try to find a meetup I can get to.

                  Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

                  by The Technomancer on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:29:03 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  kinoconnor - That's pretty much the way the (0+ / 0-)

              market system works, although explicitly telling someone that is rather crass.

              •  I disagree (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cali Scribe, peptabysmal

                Income level does determine if I live in a doorman building on the upper west side of NY vs. the lower East side. But this is making it impossible for anyone below median US income level to ever consider living here at all.

                If we do not get creative and agree on the kind of city we want, I wonder what the hell we will be left with.

                And who will be cleaning up the fancy yards and watching the children and serving us our food or cleaning our hotel rooms etc. when even teachers can no longer afford to live in the city they work.

                Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

                by kimoconnor on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:37:45 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I worry about what happens (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kimoconnor

                  the next big earthquake when firefighters and police can't afford to live in town and can't get there to help with disaster relief.

                  There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

                  by Cali Scribe on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 01:36:48 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Whats the corollary argument? (0+ / 0-)

              That some faceless, evil homeowner should subsidize your lifestyle so YOU can stay in the city that you can no longer afford?

              Left Coast Libertarian

              by pacspeed on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 08:16:32 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  below market-rate apartments (0+ / 0-)

          is a concept I've never understood. (And I suspect the people proposing them don't understand either.)

          I can see requiring developers to built lots of smaller apartments. That would increase cheaper housing.

          But creating a few apartments that some lucky lottery winner gets to pay below-market rates? How does that help anything?

          •  So you are against public housing (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            peptabysmal

            or cities and non-profits providing low income housing?

            So as you get old, you just have to leave your friends who you may have lived near for 30+ years and move to some far out area where you know no one? Just so a developer can buy your building and turn it into some high end property? This is a common story these days.

            This is about more than just profit margins, but about what kind of city we want.

            In 2012, San Francisco voters passed the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which will ultimately set aside around $50 million from the city budget each year for affordable housing construction. If we can get the state of California to create a new affordable housing program, or create one regionally ourselves, we can make our local funding go further.

            Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

            by kimoconnor on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:32:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  how is it supposed to work without building supply (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Andrew Lazarus

              You didn't answer the main issue.

              There are 800,000 residents of San Francisco. More people want to move in.

              If you set aside below-market housing for 50,000 lottery winners, and leave 750,000 at market rates, what have you accomplished?

              And, as you noted, people complain when housing supply is increased, because all development in SF is infill development.

            •  and I didn't exactly answer the question (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Andrew Lazarus

              In the context of SF with limited supply, "low income housing" or below-market housing is a lottery system.

              It doesn't solve the actual problem (not enough housing); it just lets a few lucky lottery winners get subsidized housing.

          •  It encourages diversity (0+ / 0-)

            rather than just lump all the lower-income folks into substandard housing developments where they can just be ignored.

            I've had friends who've qualified for BMR housing -- and it's not just in apartments, but in condos and housing developments as well. It enabled them to be able to have some sort of equity -- sure, they have to sell their unit back to the city housing corporation if/when they move, but at least they've got an assured buyer when the time comes. Their unit may not have the high-end finishes of some of the other apartments (laminate instead of hardwood, white appliances instead of stainless steel), but that's no different than those who decided not to pay extra for high-end in the same building. There's nothing on the door that distinguishes their unit from any other. They're not segregated into their own "ghetto", if you'll pardon the use of the term.

            There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

            by Cali Scribe on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 01:43:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Developers are profit seeking (0+ / 0-)

          "I am not so sure only offering high end offerings will do a damn thing to bring down rent elsewhere."

          Build more high-priced homes, and the sales price for high-priced homes will come down. That pushes down the price for pretty-nice-but-not-quite-as homes too, and so forth. Then, a developer will figure out that building new homes in a less-desirable neighborhood can also be profitable -- lower sales price, but cheaper land and a city that supports the development.

          I'm not suggesting that the city require only high-priced development; I am suggesting that nobody is going to run around building low priced homes because they can make more money by throwing in some stainless steel appliances and a granite countertop. But, supply pushes price down across the market, albeit unevenly. If San Fran wants more mid-priced homes, the way to do it is to give bonuses related to things like size of units, number of parking spaces, etc. For example, a lot might be limited in height to 100', but you can go up to 120' if you limit your 1 br units to <700 sq ft and your 2 br units to < 850 sq ft, and limit parking spaces to fewer than one per condo/apartment. Then the developer weighs higher sales prices for 8 floors or slightly lower sales prices but for 10 floors.

          •  Sounds good (0+ / 0-)

            in theory, but have yet to see the developer who will settle for ten two hundred thousand dollar units when he can have eight half million dollar units.  That is what is happening to low income housing all around the country.  Property that was decent to live in, but rented for less than five hundred a month is bought, torn down, and replaced by fewer units that rent for upwards of a thousand a month.  Oh, there MIGHT be one or two units dedicated to the "Low Income" people, but even those will rent for seven fifty instead of under five hundred, and the tenants will be screened far more tightly.

  •  I don't get this argument: (10+ / 0-)
    At the simplest level, it's outrageous that the city has been letting these corporate buses use public bus stops for free.
    Why is that outrageous?  It's a bus stop, being used for its intended purpose.  I'd think that cities would want to encourage the use of mass transit, not fine it.

    "And the President of the United States - would be seated right here. I would be here. And he would be here. I would turn - and there he’d be. I could pet ‘im." - Lewis Black

    by libdevil on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:35:42 AM PST

    •  We pay for upkeep of those stops via taxes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JrCrone

      If a non-public entity is going to use them, asking them to cover some of the upkeep isn't a big deal, and to those companies, isn't a big expense.

      Some techies may have their gaze firmly glued to their navel, but the majority of us are quite socially and politically aware, left-leaning, and don't have a problem with the idea that their company should be paying a buck a stop (or more) to help with maintenance of the public resource they're using.

      Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

      by The Technomancer on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:21:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well... they just started doing that. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        McWaffle, The Technomancer

        Reposted from nightsweat.
        http://www.businessinsider.com/...
        They're paying for those stops now. At least for now it seems to be a yearly fee, and they're working out a pilot program to charge per use (again, probably boils down to a yearly fee).
        http://www.sfgate.com/...
        Also they're working out a permit system that gives Muni right of way.

        •  Yep. (0+ / 0-)

          Having these companies fun mass transit would be the better option, socially, but until the surrounding counties get their heads out of their asses and agree expanding the services that get people into and out of the city like those buses do, I can't blame the corporations for not waiting around and solving the problem themselves like they always have.

          Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

          by The Technomancer on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:05:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  What they pay is a joke. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peptabysmal

          See my post above.

          The city only bills them $1/stop and the money is only allowed to be used to repay for the admin costs of collecting the $1.

          It does nothing to improve the existing public transportation infrastructure for all SF residents.

          It's complete BS.

          Bill them $271/infraction just like I would be billed if I were using public bus stops for my business. Use the money to fix MUNI, CalTrans, and BART.

          •  So do you work at SFMTA? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Andrew Lazarus

            Maybe you know my spouse who does. I don't suspect you do, because you don't seem to share their feelings about this issue.

            Here's the deal - the SFMTA, Google, Facebook, Genentech, etc. have been working together to come up with the best way to handle the issues with bus stops and commuter buses. They've talked about timing, fees, service areas - everything.

            And here's the thing - transportation planners actually like the buses. They're helping with a congestion problem that's only likely to get worse.

            Yes, robust public transit would be wonderful, but it's very expensive and it would require a political will that's not there - we're not going to see huge increases in transit service. That's utopian wishful thinking. In this world, it's great when private companies do their part.

            (An analogy is to private companies that do their part with recycling, or water conservation, or even security - the municipalities can't afford to do it all, and having willing partners is a good thing).

            I can't understand why we need to make the perfect the enemy of the good.

      •  Costs a lot more than $1/stop (0+ / 0-)

        just to maintain the bus stop most likely. The more heavy buses that stop there (I'm not sure what the weight is of the standard private bus as opposed to a standard public transit bus or trolley coach), the more wear and tear there is on that particular patch of asphalt. Down here in Silicon Valley, concrete bus pads are installed to minimize normal deterioration, and have to be replaced on a regular basis. I don't know if MUNI uses bus pads, but when you think about just standard annual maintenance work on those stops, and multiply it by the number of stops that are used by the private buses, it's a hefty sum no doubt.

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 01:48:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  At first I thought this was from "The Onion" or a (8+ / 0-)

    joke. While I believe income inequality is one of the most serious issues facing our society, this bus business is outrageous and has minimal impact on the inequality issue.  First, these buses dramatically reduce emissions by keeping cars off the road. Secondly, the shuttles allow those tech workers to live in the city, which generates significant sales tax and other revenues that support the city of San Fran.

    Ok, so the city starts charging busses a usage fee, xyz company refuses to pay the fee and bus service is withdrawn by XYZ company...this is turn causes employees to move out of the city or buy more cars to further clog congested streets.  

    This is almost as silly and counter productive as Santa Monica's recent attempt to ban circumcision within city limits.

    •  If the buses are going to use public stops... (0+ / 0-)

      ...they should be paying for the upkeep of said stops.  Seriously, I work in tech, and if it got out that one of the companies in the area wasn't at least going to pay a use fee for using a public resource, I sure as hell wouldn't work for them.

      Remember, we're talking about some of the most politically engaged members of GenX and the Millennials, a base that overwhelmingly swings to the left (especially in the SF area).  We think about these things, especially because many of us are lucky enough (and we realize this) to have our choice of jobs rather than having to suck up to an employer to get hired.

      The companies in question can afford some use fees.  It costs them less than 4 or 5 of the engineers they're ferrying per year to pay their part on upkeep.

      Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

      by The Technomancer on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:19:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Really? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trumpeter, stomv, AdamR510, polecat

    This is on the front page?  

    •  I know. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AdamR510, dallasdunlap, Al in NY

      I just find it ironic that artist is bashing companies like Google who pay most of Kos' payroll and expenses via AdWords revenue.

      How many people, especially in the early days of the site, found it because of Google?  How many now find it because of Facebook and Twitter?

      Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

      by The Technomancer on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:13:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh please (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trumpeter, Bruce The Moose, polecat

    Google et al's actions result in a better outcome for the public.

    If their employees drive, they're jamming up the roads and polluting.
    If their employees take public transit, they're jamming up the BART and, since the BART (et al) lose money with every passenger, costing taxpayers.

  •  Not about buses (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, JrCrone

    It is about what they represent and the destruction of the neighborhoods for middle and low income.  Gentrification.  Without a high paying tech job people can't afford the rent....because of the high paying tech jobs rents are being driven up.  The perception of many on the streets is that the techies could care less as they are transported in their lovely buses enjoying their plenty in the midst of the struggles of others.  Merely a symptom of what is to come.

    "Men go and come, but earth abides." George R. Stewart

    by mojavefog on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:57:09 AM PST

    •  Vote with your wallet. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AdamR510, dallasdunlap

      Stop using the Internet.

      Stop using Facebook.

      Don't go to any site that uses Google to serve ads or gather analytics.  Like Daily Kos.

      Stop using Twitter.

      And if you think that's completely unreasonable and things like the 'Net are impossible to go without using, you've just realized why tech workers get paid.

      Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

      by The Technomancer on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:11:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Economies (0+ / 0-)

        will certainly rule the day.  If the low and middle continue to be hammered economically then one can see a scenario where larger numbers would begin to give up monthly payments on cell phones and internet services if it becomes a choice between roof and sustenance.  Trends now appear to be a race to the bottom inequality breeds an us vs them mindset ...not a healthy outlook.  One can build a case for the person doing the job no one else wants...cleaning the toilets perhaps...to earn a much higher wage, assuming we prefer to have that someone (not us) cleaning the toilet.

        "Men go and come, but earth abides." George R. Stewart

        by mojavefog on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 11:10:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  But if the workers lived in the suburbs, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      untorqued

      wouldn't the economic isolation element be even more magnified? Gated communities, big suburban McMansions, etc?

      I guess I'm not seeing any solution to this apparent problem other than "pay low-rung tech employees less", which doesn't really seem like a great option...

      "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

      by McWaffle on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:16:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Gentrification or Ghettoization (0+ / 0-)

      I think any city will have to content with trending toward one or another. So if you have absolutely no worries about Gentrification, than you probably have the problem of Ghettoization.
      Expand too fast, or at least too fast for your public infrastructure (electricity, water, transit, garbage collection, etc) to keep up, you start to ghettoize your city.
      Expand too slow (like SF), then you runs into Gentrification problem.

    •  The buses don't represent gentrification. (0+ / 0-)

      This is one of the things I think bears repeating. Not all bus riders are highly paid. Not all highly paid tech folks are on buses.

      Tech as a sector is growing, and with it are good jobs, and with that comes more market demand and higher rents.

      We should definitely rally as a community of progressives around ways to limit rent increases, ways to fight unfair evictions, and ways to raise the wages for all middle class and poor workers.

      But to act as if the folks who commute by bus are somehow to blame for the fact that their employers have made this choice (a helpful choice in my opinion) just muddies the water and loses potentially helpful supporters.

  •  How dare WORKERS live in my city! (6+ / 0-)

    I'm sorry, but the bus issue is pure snobbery.   The places we are talking about had million dollar houses 35 years ago and I am sure they are more expensive now.   It is perhaps the main reason I no longer live in the Bay Area, aside from the traffic.    As a midgrade tech worker (IE, only a Master's degree...)  in the 80's, there was no way I could ever hope to afford anything other than perhaps an ex-crackhouse on a bad street in Oakland.   The same was true for my boss!   If you didn't already live there, there was no way that you could afford to own a house in the City.  

    (Let's talk about the law that holds taxes to 1970s levels for existing property owners, but taxes new owners at current market value someday...)

    Kudos to companies for trying to solve the traffic problem, although I would point out that other tech companies had busses in the area long before cellphones did anything other than make calls.    East Coasters might not realize the distances or traffic involved, it can easily be a two hour drive (or more) from the City to San Jose where the big tech companies are located.  

    Do you prefer Redmond, where the city  paid for an overpass to  help Microsoft's traffic?   (Oh the Horrors, but it did help traffic on 148th.)   They have busses, too and definitely need them since the company is spread across several locations.

  •  Some background (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cali Scribe

    It's not just a transportation issue.  This piece by Rebecca Solnit  captures the feeling of many living in the tech bedroom community that is SF.

    The Google Bus means so many things. It means that the minions of the non-petroleum company most bent on world domination can live in San Francisco but work in Silicon Valley without going through a hair-raising commute by car – I overheard someone note recently that the buses shortened her daily commute to 3.5 hours from 4.5. It means that unlike gigantic employers in other times and places, the corporations of Silicon Valley aren’t much interested in improving public transport, and in fact the many corporations providing private transport are undermining the financial basis for the commuter train. It means that San Francisco, capital of the west from the Gold Rush to some point in the 20th century when Los Angeles overshadowed it, is now a bedroom community for the tech capital of the world at the other end of the peninsula.
    •  note a key issue for that writer (0+ / 0-)
      My brother says that the first time he saw one unload its riders he thought they were German tourists – neatly dressed, uncool, a little out of place, blinking in the light as they emerged from their pod.
      The uncool kids moving into the cool part of town.
    •  The commuter trains are full (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blank slate

      I know, I used to ride them.

      Did someone tell the author that Twitter just opened a campus in San Francisco? That the South of Market area near the ballpark is just one small or medium sized tech company after another? The idea that the tech jobs are now all in the valley is stupid. And, by the way, those South of Market companies chip in for shuttles to BART.

      I really don't understand the bus envy. It looks like frustration in search of an issue.

  •  File this with the Trader Joe's flap in (0+ / 0-)

    Portland, OR.

  •  My question would be... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    ...why don't the tech companies have an off-street loading area? I assume these buses don't make all stops, so why not have a bus-loading area on a small lot in the city where they can wait for their passengers?

    Or is that too logical?

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 10:23:59 AM PST

  •  I will rec (0+ / 0-)

    this only because it is so appropriate, but that woman's voice is simply too hideous for words.

  •  I'm one of those terrible people... (6+ / 0-)

    ...who has ridden the SF tech bus. I'm so sorry for existing, but hey, I did grow up in San Francisco. As it turns out, riding a bus 2 hours a day so I can sit in a cubicle isn't exactly sex on the beach, and so I finally got tired of all the wasted time and moved closer to work.

    And by the way, I don't consider the pay excessive. Just barely enough, if you ask me. Yes, other people in non tech jobs should be paid more, absolutely; that should be the issue rather than asking tech workers to join the rest of society in a race to the bottom.

    Some commenters have asked why these companies don't pitch in to help public transportation. They do! They provide shuttles to CalTrain, subsidize the monthly CalTrain pass, and provide workers with a free VTA pass (which they pay for).

    Fiore wonders why the tech companies pay $1 while regular people pay $2. Uh, probably because maintaining bus stops isn't a very large part of the expense of providing public transit. It's fantastic for San Francisco that companies are providing transit services that the city doesn't need to subsidize. Something labor-intensive that functions every day that doesn't put demands on the city budget, are you kidding me?

    What this is really about is how easy or hard it is to live in San Francisco. And the bottom line is that SF is 49 square miles and already quite densely populated, and there are way more people who like SF than the city can ever possibly accommodate. The best solution would be for more towns other than San Francisco to work on becoming cool places to live as well.

    (By the way: My first post here, though I'm a long-time reader.)

    •  Welcome to DKOS Alfred. (0+ / 0-)
      Yes, other people in non tech jobs should be paid more, absolutely; that should be the issue rather than asking tech workers to join the rest of society in a race to the bottom.
      Spot on re: avoiding races to the bottom.
      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      It will never happen for the first time until it does.

      by catilinus on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 03:15:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Possibly the most annoying jingle I've ever heard! (5+ / 0-)

    The hatred toward tech workers and their buses is just ridiculous.

    Would you prefer they all drove their own cars?

    Would you prefer the Bay area DIDNT have an ocean of money? Had ever lower rents and ever increasing vacancy? (see: Detroit)

    Those very tech workers you deride are the ones paying for 14 dollar martinis and 40 dollar steaks. The ones who make millionaires out of contractors and real estate agents. The ones who support SF's $6B+ municipal budget that pays for museums, parks, homeless shelters and all sorts of other progressive agendas.

    The ones who write the very programs you use to come here and bash them.

    Left Coast Libertarian

    by pacspeed on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 01:42:43 PM PST

    •  Heck, I'm all for bashing the C-levels. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KBS666, Andrew Lazarus

      But the bus-riders are just regular employees making entry-level/average salaries. Yeah, they are very high entry level salaries (depending on role), to be certain. But it's not like we're dealing with hedge fund managers who shuffle paper and make 10,000,000 a year. These are engineers who make professional salaries by working at the most prestigious place a software engineer can work. It's good but it's not criminal.

      "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

      by McWaffle on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 01:49:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Of all the things to get "outraged" over (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew Lazarus

    Tech workers riding buses provided by their employers? Really? Have you looked at rents in Silicon Valley? Home prices?

    These buses keep who knows how many cars off the streets while actually keeping income inequality down. If those buses didn't exist those workers would have to either own cars, very very expensive in the city, or live in the Valley. both of which would force them to demand higher wages.

    Sometimes certain leftists get upset over things without knowing enough about the subject.

    And BTW city rents would be going up with or without the tech workers. San Francisco is a very attractive place to live right now.

  •  I know that this might not be a popular opinion (0+ / 0-)

    but at least concerning the house prices, I can only blame the San Francisco voters. They want cheap housing, but they also want their city to look like a quaint European town with height limits.

    It is a simple supply and demand problem. There isn't enough housing in San Francisco, and despite the recent construction boom, the past two decades of stagnation has caused an ENORMOUS supply crisis. People are being priced out because the wealthy want to live in the city, and they are willing to pay top dollar even for the run-down apartments.

    The Washington Street proposition is an example of this. If you increase supply to match demand, then the housing prices will equalize. But the NIMBYs in San Francisco don't want to build up, and I cannot fathom why (bogus arguments about shadows and waterfront views notwithstanding).

    Tech buses can help out by paying for using the bus stops (or using a central stop with more space like Transbay and asking its employees to get there on public transit), or donating to Caltrain - which lacks a dedicated funding - or something like that. But in the grander scheme of things, I think that they are being scapegoated for something that the city did to itself.

    Increase height-limits, upzone transit-dense neighborhoods, and stop allowing the NIMBYs to block any project that rises above 300 ft.

  •  Sour grapes of wrath (apologies to Steinbeck) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew Lazarus, dconrad

    My father lived on Lombard Street before I was born. SF is a great city to live in, and the fact that companies such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, et al are willing to bus their employees from SF to the Silly Valley is NOT the problem. The problem is that the regional transportation authority is not willing to provide good commuter options from SF to the peninsula, and vice-versa, at reasonable costs. The companies themselves had to fill in the gaps! I used to live in Palo Alto, and had to take the train into SF for some of my consulting gigs. The cost was not something I'd want to bear on a daily basis, for sure, and that was in the 1980's. Now, I have to commute via train into Chicago on a daily basis, and even with my senior discount, it costs me about $113 per month ($192 if I were under 65). If my company (a tier-1 tech firm) was willing to provide bus service for me (I am about the same distance from Chicago as the Silly Valley is from SF), I would just say "Thanks"!

    •  The ideal form of public transportation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dconrad

      is the system of elevators in a high-rise office or apartment building.  It's available 24 by 7 (barring power outages, which disrupt any system), there's a very short wait between when you show up and when your ride arrives, and it's "free".  Of course, it's not really free, but the cost is baked into the infrastructure (usually private, sometimes public) and there are no tolls, tickets or user fees.

      This, of course, depends on density.  The "people movers" at certain airports operate on the same principle, like horizontal elevators.  But where low-density sprawl prevails, public transportation that really works isn't going to be available at reasonable cost.  The price you pay for your nice detached home in the suburbs with its own front and back yards is that you can't go anywhere from there without getting in your car first.

      BTW, I am writing this while sitting in my nice detached home in the suburbs, well protected from market forces by California's Prop. 13.  I know this isn't sustainable, but at my age, I'm not very sustainable either!

  •  Do you even know what you're talking about? (4+ / 0-)

    1) Rich people do not ride buses. I can't emphasize this point enough. Buses suck. Doesn't matter whether they're public or private -- they suck. If you're rich, you pay not to take the bus.

    2) I'm a tech worker. My girlfriend is a tech worker also (in fact, a Google tech worker). Together we manage to pull in a low six figures. That's not enough to buy us a tiny house in the worst neighborhood in the San Francisco-San Jose peninsula. I know because I've been trying to do so for the last two years.

    3) I don't know any of the apparent high tech, high roller party animals that Fiore seemed to be portraying in his cartoon. I know people who write code. I know people who, like myself, consider themselves to be artisans -- not artists, not financiers, not even entrepreneurs for the most part. We're schmucks who work 9 - 5 (or more likely 9 - 7) using our brains to write programs that make our employers wealthy. We get paid decently for it, so that's fine. But we put in long days, drive ourselves to headaches and mental exhaustion, and we produce occasionally valuable stuff out of information. We're like the modern-day version of potters or coopers or blacksmiths, except we use mental muscle instead of physical muscle. Don't act like we're lying around drinking and having fun all day.

    I went to school a long time in order to study technical subjects. I spent years in crappy jobs getting paid badly until I could work my way up to slightly more respectable positions. I still barely make enough to live in California.

    I'm a goddamn working computer programmer, not David or Charles Koch.

    •  I think yours is a very insightful comment, bshock (0+ / 0-)

      I hope you will continue to post on tech worker issues, your contributions are needed.

      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's CREATION." _ Jonathan Larson, RENT -9.62, -9.13

      by BeninSC on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 06:49:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Man, do I ever feel your pain! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dconrad

      My wife and I were lucky enough to become computer programmers back when only large institutions could afford computers.  We had good pay and benefits from the day we got our masters' degrees, and houses on the SF-SJ peninsula were affordable back then, even to people whose parents couldn't help with the down payment.

      One reason you and your GF are struggling is the disparity of wealth in this country that's built up over the past 40 years.  There's so much private money sloshing around in the top 1%, looking for something to invest in, that you as would-be first-time home buyers are competing with people who can pay cash on the barrelhead (mortgage?  what mortgage?) in a demand-driven rising market.  That wasn't happening back in the 1970s.

      Right-wingers think the resentment of the rich comes from envy.  I just gave one example of how the skewed distribution of wealth leads to social distortion.  You and your GF sure as hell ought to be able to buy a starter home hereabouts, but you can't.  And it's not because Mark Zuckerberg bought a mansion in Palo Alto and all the adjoining houses--more power to him!  It's because for the last 40 years the benefits of the productivity gains created by people like you (and me, back in the day) have increasingly gone to the owners of enterprises rather than the workers.

    •  Hear, hear (0+ / 0-)

      As a tech worker I can't agree with you enough. I hope I can find myself a house in Ann Arbor that I can afford so I can cut my one-hour-one-way commute down. In the meantime, if my employer provided me with a bus, I would take it in a heartbeat.

      We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

      by dconrad on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:11:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  cartoon (0+ / 0-)

    I love it. It would be fun having that techie.

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