By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfbg – excerpt
The vaunted Google Bus pilot program is now in legal limbo as local activists appeal the deal to regulate the shiny behomoths, on environmental grounds. As we wait and see what the next step will be, one technology journalist decided to figure out for himself what the SFMTA says the pilot program aims to do: track the number of tech buses running around San Francisco.
Well, to be fair, Kevin Poulsen, investigations editor at Wired magazine, only tracked the buses flying by his home. But the process doesn’t seem too tough to replicate.
As he writes in his Wired post:
“Last week, it occurred to me that I might start monitoring the local Wi-Fi environment to determine how often the Apple Bus really comes by. My wife guessed 10 times a day. I’d have said 20.”
So essentially, he used the Apple bus’ Wi-Fi, provided for their employees, to track movements of the bus. He didn’t make any bets on it, but if he had, it seems his wife would’ve lost.
“After a week of reverse-wardriving, it appears the Apple Bus passes my house an average of 36 times a day, and is uncannily punctual, especially in the a.m., when the first bus reliably pops up on my Wi-Fi radar between 6:23:33 and 6:23:56 every morning… (more)
Park and Ride transit hubs may be the answer to keeping tech buses off city streets, and solve the parking problem for commuters and people who want to park and switch transit modes in the city closer to their destination. Instead of driving across the city, the tech buses could pick up their people at the parking hubs off the freeways
It appears that tech bus riders feel they can rely on tech buses to get them to work on time because, unlike Muni buses, tech buses keep a tight schedule without rushing people or forcing them to stand on crowded buses. Maybe Muni should take a closer look at how they operate. They may learn something.
There are parking lots at BART stops in Berkeley and Castro Valley, and there is plenty of room for shuttle buses to line up off the street without stopping traffic. SF could build something similar.
We hear from SFMTA and city officials that we can’t afford any parking garages because the land to too valuable. Shouldn’t the voters decide what we want to pay for? Maybe we would rather pay for parking garages than TEP projects and street calming.
The shuttle buses and companies they serve, may want to invest in parking hub garages as part of their public works program. Instead of fighting parking, we could embrace it as a means of keeping a lot of shuttle buses off city streets.
If you feel like many of us do, that the public transit system should include more public parking at transit hubs, preferably near freeway exits, please send that information to your supervisor. The more they hear that the voters want MORE PARKING the easier it will be to get MORE PARKING. This is an election year. Tell them what you want for your vote.