Los Gatos residents complain about corporate buses

By Judy Peterson : eastbaytimes – excerpt

The controversy that’s followed corporate buses from San Jose to San Francisco has arrived on Los Gatos’ doorstep. Both Apple and Google operate buses that take town residents to work in Cupertino and Mountain View, but some of their neighbors are complaining.

One complainant is Michael Farr, who lives at Knowles Drive and Carpi Avenue, where Googlers are picked up in the morning and dropped off in the evening.

“They come and go just like a transit center,” Farr said. “They’re an accident waiting to happen. This is a residential street, not a parking lot.”

 Town manager Laurel Prevetti said the Googlers apparently started parking on Capri after being “kicked out of the Vasona Station shopping center” because they were taking customer parking spaces.
 Since Knowles and Capri are public streets, anyone can park there for up to 72 hours.

“We talked to Google in March to talk through some options,” Prevetti said. “We have a lot of questions, we don’t necessarily have a lot of answers. So, we need solutions. One solution is land: Is there land available so they can have a designated place to park?”

Mayor Barbara Spector is also working the issue, and parks and public works director Matt Morley is looking into a couple of parcels of land that could possibly be used for corporate parking.

Farr likes that idea. “They should buy a parking lot,” he said.

He also thinks the buses should be regulated… (more)

Now we know that the tech shuttles are not a San Francisco problem. They are creeping into every other county and the citizens and governments are not just rolling over. The most important thing to be done right now is to contact our state representatives and let them know how we feel about the situation so they will not pass these bills: AB1641 and AB61

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)


New loading zone proposed on Van Ness Avenue to ease issues with private shuttles and Muni

By: Will Reisman : San Francisco Examiner – excerpt

A new loading zone set to be carved out for private shuttles on Van Ness Avenue could be a sign of things to come, as The City prepares to deal with the ever-growing number of unregulated buses.
Van Ness Avenue has become the center of conflicts between Muni vehicles and private shuttles, which scoop up workers in San Francisco and carry them to jobs on the Peninsula and in Silicon Valley. The shuttles often pick up workers at stops designated for Muni vehicles, leading to public transit delays.
To address those concerns, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which manages Muni, has proposed adding an 80-foot boarding zone specifically for private shuttle vehicles on Van Ness Avenue. The proposed site, located in front of an old gas station near Union Street, will be voted on today… (more)

Ripping on Silicon Valley Shuttles Won’t Solve SF’s Parking-Induced Problems

by Aaron Bialick : sf.sftreetsblog.

The corporate shuttles that whisk tech workers from the highly-valued urban habitat of San Francisco down to the burgeoning suburban campus job centers of Silicon Valley are the newest additions to San Francisco’s streets. But while it’s become convenient for critics to point the finger at this increasingly-visible symbol of gentrification as the cause of everything from skyrocketing rents to blocked Muni stops, that anger is misdirected… (more)

Reasons the shuttles are popular:
They are sized to fit the demand.

They meet their schedules.

And so far as we know they don’t cost the taxpayers a dime. Let’s see Muni compete with that.

Here’s A Map To Silicon Valley’s Cushy Private Buses

By Megan Rose Dickey :businessinsider.com – excerpt

Taking the bus isn’t usually considered a luxury. But Silicon Valley companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, eBay, and Electronic Artstransport their employees to and from work, no matter where they live in San Francisco, on Wi-Fi equipped private buses with cushy, leather seats.
San Francisco-based design firm Stamen Design tracked those companies’ bus routes to figure out where their employees live and how many people rely on those private corporate buses, Geoffrey Fowler of the Wall Street Journal reports…
Stamen’s research estimated that the buses transport roughly 7,500 tech employees a day, Monday through Friday, and concluded that the unmarked buses ferry a third as many commuters as ride on Caltrain, a commuter train that travels between San Francisco and San Jose… (more)


SFMTA in midst of robust study of private shuttle industry

By: Will Reisman : sfexaminer.com – excerpt

The proliferation of private workplace shuttles, which take thousands of cars off the road but often conflict with Muni vehicles, is getting the serious attention of city officials, who hope to regulate the services within the coming months.
In The City, at least 27 institutions employ private shuttles, which pick up employees in their neighborhoods and drop them off at their jobs. The shuttles use about 200 loading and unloading zones, many of them near Muni bus stops, including a huge presence on Van Ness Avenue and other busy corridors, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
The shuttles spend about one minute at each stop, often using Muni loading zones or temporarily double-parking, which can put Muni vehicles behind schedule…“It’s time to embrace shuttles as part of the transportation system, and that means coming up with the right regulations,” said Metcalf. “The goal should be to have more of these vehicles, not less.”…

More shuttles and jitneys for the public could help stem Muni loses on slow and underused routes.