Critics file legal challenge of S.F. ‘Google Bus’ program

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez: sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco’s Commuter Shuttle Program, which was made permanent in November, is facing a lawsuit that could require The City to revisit its environmental studies.

The City’s new, permanent program to legalize “Google Buses” just netted its first legal challenge.

An environmental appeal of the Commuter Shuttle Program, as The City formally calls its legalization of tech shuttles, was filed to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors last Thursday.

A similar challenge was issued over the pilot version of the program previously, which then escalated into a lawsuit that’s still ongoing.

The lawsuit and the new environmental appeal, separately, may compel San Francisco to study various environmental effects of the buses it did not study — not necessarily to stop the program altogether…

“They’ve been too big for our streets, there are pollution concerns, and impacts to the public transportation system,” Peskin told the San Francisco Examiner. “I have an open mind, but like many San Franciscans I have concerns about them driving on our city streets.”…

The newfound permanency of the program opened it up to new legal challenges.

The Coalition for Fair, Legal and Environmental Transit, SEIU Local 1021, and citizens Sue Vaughan and Bob Planthold filed the challenge through their attorney, Rebecca Davis. The group alleges the shuttles are low-tech, using diesel fuel which pollutes the air around city neighbors, and that they illegally use public bus stops in conflict with the California Vehicle Code.

Tech workers will pay more to live near the shuttle stops, the group alleges, which in turn spikes nearby rents, spurring evictions and displacement of long-term San Franciscans… (more)

 

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