Mayor Ed Lee and the SFMTA have reached an agreement with a coalition of tech companies whose behemoth employee shuttles have sparked protests for their use of public bus stops. Today, Lee announced that the bus operators serving companies such as Genentech, Google, Apple, LinkedIn and Facebook will be charged a fee based on the number of stops they make in Muni bus zones. The money, which is projected to bring in about $1.5 million over an 18 month pilot program, will be directed towards maintenance of public transit infrastructure.
The news comes as so-called "Google buses" have sparked angry muttering and some outraged protests, including this ill-conceived and memorable poseur. They're an apt analogy for a generalized air of unease surrounding housing shortages, skyrocketing rents and gentrification that have come to characterize the Bay's new tech boom, even as tech companies claim that they keep hundreds of additional cars off city streets each day.
The agreement won't do too much to appease people who were using the tech buses as an easy metaphor for a larger problem, but the added transit revenue could serve to soothe a few ruffled feathers. Or not.