The pilot program to allow corporate shuttles (a.k.a. "Google Buses") to share a select number of Muni stops, and to pay for the privilege, begins today, and we can expect complaints from all sides. Tech workers will be griping because some of their stops have moved, and we know of at least one protest that's already happening on 24th Street. For reference again, here's the list of all 99 of the Muni stops being shared, for the price of $3.55 per stop.
The program has already caused plenty of controversy, and the price being charged to tech companies operating the shuttles has tripled since this 18-month program was first proposed it was originally going to be $1 per stop as the Chron reports. The specific Muni stops have been chosen because they're supposedly less busy than other stops, however there's bound to be heavy overlap at certain intersections.
Also, shuttles will be held accountable for their actions by way of posted placards identifying bus numbers on the front and back though the companies sponsoring them will not be displayed. This means that the shuttle driver who almost ran down that old lady in Pacific Heights last week could more easily be called on the carpet. Lime-green stickers on Muni bus shelters will indicate which shuttle number or numbers are permitted to stop there, as shown by the Examiner.
A total of 11 companies operating these shuttles, including Facebook, Google, Apple, and Genentech, are part of the pilot program.
And yeah, this should be pretty fun! The shuttles are going legit after several years of being a shadow network of tinted-window intimidation. But, as SFMTA project manager Carli Paine tells the Chron, "We know day one will not be as good as day 30."
Here's a photo of the protest at 24th and Valencia happening this morning, via Joe Fitz Rodriguez on Twitter, along with the chant being used by elderly and disabled protestors, aimed (of course) at Google:
To be clear, this was organized by anti-eviction groups, protesting the fact that seniors and the disabled are especially vulnerable to losing their homes in no-fault or Ellis Act evictions during this current housing crisis, which many have blamed on tech wealth, and thus, the shuttles.