Wiener to SFMTA: Google bus pilot program should consider fair wages, working conditions

By sfexaminer – excerpt

When granting permits to “Google bus”-style corporate shuttles, The City should measure a shuttle provider’s “labor harmony.”

That’s the idea behind a resolution Supervisor Scott Wiener said he plans to introduce at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, in a move dovetailing the growing unionization of corporate commuter shuttle providers.

The resolution urges the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency specifically to consider “the extent to which an applicant can assure Labor Harmony in its operations” when granting an application for a company to take part in the commuter shuttle pilot program. Under the program, tech company commuter shuttles are allowed legal use of nearly 200 Muni stops and a handful of white-zone curbs… (more)

Are Google Buses Already Legal? Yes and No

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfweekly – excerpt

Disrupt the law, legalize later.

That’s the modus operandi of tech companies such as Airbnb and Uber, which innovate in ways old-fashioned laws often don’t address. It’s also seemingly the tactic used by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to justify its pilot program to legally allow corporate shuttles, like the infamous Google buses, to use Muni bus stops.

Except maybe Google bus illegality is more clear cut than initially thought. California’s state vehicle code right now specifically outlaws any bus from using public bus stops, save for school buses, according to a state lawmaker.

State Vehicle Code 22500(i) was explicitly called out by Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), who is seeking to change the law in favor of corporate shuttles. Allen introduced AB 61, which would change state vehicle code to allow local transit agencies (such as the SFMTA, which runs Muni) to grant permission for private entities to use municipal bus stops. The change would allow for even more Google bus-style shuttles to proliferate on city streets across the state.

But the bill’s existence raises an interesting question: Why seek to legalize something unless it is illegal? And if it’s illegal, then how are those corporate shuttles getting away with pulling over at Muni stops across San Francisco?… (more)

AB 61 – Assembly Member Travis Allen: is sponsoring a bill that many in San Francisco oppose. Read and decide for yourself:

Send comments and letters to the committee members:

State reps on the Senate Transportation and Housing Committees:

State Assembly Committee on Transportation:

More links are here.


Google bus to devour parking?

sfgate – excerpt

In case the haters needed another reason to denounce Google bus and the other sleek corporate shuttles being blamed for the demise of this fair city, here’s one:

The Municipal Transportation Agency‘s 18-month test to allow the private buses to use select Muni bus stops will take away parking — something certain to provoke a fight in San Francisco.

On Friday, the MTA will hold a hearing on a number of changes allowing corporate shuttles to use certain Muni stops. And some of those stops will need to be extended, which will take away parking spaces.

How many? Well, not a huge amount — unless, of course, it’s a space you often use.  Carli Paine, an MTA planner in charge of the shuttle stop-sharing program, says only three spaces — two metered, one in a residential parking permit zone — will be taken full time.

Another 15 parking spaces will be reserved  for shuttles from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., five in zones used from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and 15 more in zones used during both peak periods. Drivers can park their cars in those spots outside of the restricted hours.

That’s sure to draw some neighbors, in addition to the usual Google bus antagonists, to Friday’s hearing. The Alamo Square Neighborhood Association, for instance, is fighting the proposed location of two shared stops at Hayes and Steiner streets because they would result in the part-time loss of parking. Others are sure to follow suit… (more)

Has anyone done any studies to see how many residents who park and take the Muni to work will now have to drive instead when their residential parking space is taken by tech buses and “shared vehicles”?

One way for tech companies, and some of the “sharing companies” to pay back the public for taking public parking spaces off the streets would be to go into the parking garage development business. They could build some new parking garages in the areas where they are taking parking away from the public. They could also get involved in installing electric re-charging stations for e-cars. That business doesn’t seem to interest the SFMTA much yet.