Later today the seven member board of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will weigh in on a proposal that will allow corporate shuttles to share public stops with Muni vehicles. In preparation for today's meeting, prefaced by yet another bus-blocking protest, a Google employee sent out an internal memo urging Googlers to attend the meeting. As if the innocent employees on the buses didn't already seem like automatons to the outsiders waiting on their WiFi-less Muni buses, Google provided a handy script for their workers to follow.
[Misc-sf] Next week’s public hearing on shuttle regulations
IF YOU DON’T RIDE THE SHUTTLE TO/FROM SF, YOU CAN STOP READING NOW.
Dear Shuttle Riders,
This Tuesday (1/21), the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board will meet to vote on the proposed shuttle regulations we told you about last week. The hearing will take place on January 21 at 1pm PT at San Francisco City Hall (room 400). While we recognized that many of you won’t be able to make it during the workday, we encourage any interested Googlers who live in San Francisco to speak in favor of the proposal (please RSVP here if you are planning to attend). While you are not required to state where you work, you may confirm that Google is your employer if you are so inclined.
If you do choose to speak in favor of the proposal we thought you might appreciate some guidance on what to say. Feel free to add your own style and opinion.
*I am so proud to live in San Francisco and be a part of this community
*I support local and small businesses in my neighborhood on a regular basis
*My shuttle empowers my colleagues and I to reduce our carbon emissions by removing cars from the road
*If the shuttle program didn’t exist, I would continue to live in San Francisco and drive to work on the peninsula
*I am a shuttle rider, SF resident, and I volunteer at ..
*Because of the above, I urge the Board to adopt this pilot as a reasonable step in the right direction
You can read the full press release announcing the proposal here, and we’ll keep you updated in the coming weeks as the proposal moves towards approval. Feel free to email us at [email protected] with any questions.
Thanks, XXXX, on behalf of the Transportation Team
Heart of the City is the same group responsible for the December 9th Anti-Eviction/Google bus protest in the Mission, but not the protest in Oakland that saw a smashed bus window later that month. TechCrunch has verified the veracity of the email, although officially Google is still quiet on the matter.
Although astroturfing like this isn't uncommon at San Francisco City Hall, another Google employee on the thread noted, "This message comes off a bit high handed and I don’t think it would be good if it showed up on the front page of the chron or valleywag." (Which it did.) There's also something to be said for the face that Google, a company widely regarded for hiring only the brightest employees, doesn't trust them enough to go off-script.
Finally, among those talking points is the assertion that if the shuttle program didn't exist, bus riders would be driving down to The Peninsula rather than living closer to work. On the other hand, a UC Berkeley study quoted by the SFMTA's proposal found that 40% of riders would move closer to work if they didn't have the option of taking the shuttle to the office.
If the proposal passes during today's meeting (which begins at 1 p.m. in City Hall), the SFMTA will collect $1 per stop at 200 legally shared spots and allow the agency to break even. Activists, on the other hand, believe the city should be charging more or implementing a tax for using the stops which would net out to a profit for the city.
In the meantime, protests are already underway this morning in the hours leading up to today's hearing.
Update: SFist is live from today's corporate shuttle hearing at S.F. City Hall.