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)

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.

Regulating the Google Buses: the SFMTA’s plan for private shuttles

By Isabel Angell : KALW – excerpt

Private shuttles have been using Muni stops in San Francisco for a while. But they’ve mostly been smaller buses, for hospitals and universities. In the past few years though, bigger charter buses for tech companies like Google and Genentech have also started to use Muni stops.
In total, the private shuttles regularly use more than 200 Muni stops around the city. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) spokesperson Kristen Holland says the tech buses’ rising popularity has started to cause Muni delays…
The pilot proposes a few other new rules: shuttles will have to be clearly marked, and always give Muni the right-of-way. Buses that violate the new rules will be fined. The SFMTA hasn’t decided on a dollar amount, but the fine would depend on how many stops a shuttle provider makes within the city. More stops mean a higher fine.
According to Holland, the new regulations should make Muni boardings smoother and improve the system’s reliability, while still helping the city keep cars off the road….
A Google spokesperson said the company has no comment about the proposed regulations. A Facebook rep said it’s too early in the process to make a comment.
And it’s true: this pilot program is still a ways off. Holland says next, the SFMTA staff will present the regulations to the agency’s board, and the pilot should start sometime this winter. If all goes well, the SFMTA will look into making the shuttle regulations permanent… (more)