Apple, Google Shuttles to Pay to Use Public Bus Stops in San Francisco

Tuesday January 21, 2014 4:43 PM PST by Juli Clover
appleshuttlecastroMajor tech companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook often use private buses to ferry employees from living areas in San Francisco and the bay area to company campuses in places like Cupertino, Mountain View, and Menlo Park.

Previously, the city was not receiving any income from the campus buses, even though they often used city bus stops. Today that changed as the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) approved a pilot proposal (via The Verge) that will require commuter shuttle buses from companies like Apple to pay $1 for each stop they make every day.

Commuter shuttle buses have been subject to several protests over the course of the last few months, with activists in the area attacking employee buses in protest of rising housing costs in the San Francisco Bay Area.
While the Silicon Valley companies will now be giving back to the city more than they have in the past, a formalized shuttle system won't answer the concerns that the tech industry is causing class warfare in San Francisco. Housing prices in the city are skyrocketing out of the reach of ordinary citizens, and many are blaming the high-income individuals employed by companies like Facebook, Apple, and Google.
Set to begin in July of 2014, the program is expected to earn the city approximately $1.5 million over the course of 18 months, which will be used to cover enforcement of the program and evaluations on its efficiency. The $1 per stop fee is unlikely to have any significant impact on Apple or its employees, but it could help to ease tensions within the city.

(Image courtesy of The Castro Biscuit)

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

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11 months ago

More government greed. Nothing new.

What a crock.

Public Transit and right-of-ways supported by the public shouldn't be double dipped for free by Corporations.
Rating: 17 Votes
11 months ago
Talk about class warfare...

If the companies did not provide the shuttle service, there would be more cars on the streets making traffic and pollution worse for everyone. Now the companies will be asked to pay for the "privilege" of providing a service that the transportation authorities are failing to do effectively. SF and Berkeley has the most bone headed city administrations in some respects.
Rating: 13 Votes
11 months ago

What a crock.

Public Transit and right-of-ways supported by the public shouldn't be double dipped for free by Corporations.

Except the companies here aren't making $ off the bus stop; it's just a convenient, logical, and safe place to pick up employees; employees who are SF citizens & pay property taxes (either as homeowners or indirectly as renters) which covers things like maintenance for that right-of-way sidewalk/bus stop (mass transit doesn't make a profit to cover all its expenses).

Also, in an era where gov't is trying to encourage ride sharing & mass transit why discourage companies from shuttling employees to work en mass vs the company subsiding parking or other commuter costs? That just creates more pollution and wear and tear on the roads.

Now if it was XYZ shuttle service offering service from SF to wherever for $ I'd agree. That's a for-profit service & that would be piggybacking. But these employee shuttles are not that.

BTW "corporations" is not a dirty word. It's just a word.
Rating: 12 Votes
11 months ago
More government greed. Nothing new.
Rating: 11 Votes
11 months ago
Wow, not a lot of popular support for the new bus tax on this forum. There are quite a few arguments for this tax:

(1) Cost Shifiting - The increased traffic of these bus stops due to private use was not foreseen during the design phase, and therefore the planned lifespan must be discounted accordingly. Increased maintenance costs and improvements due to this unforeseen use will now be borne by the private users.

(2) Ability to pay - Public transportation is a social good, and this puts the burden on those best able to pay.

(3) Punitive damages - This is a penalty enforced against the well-to-do by the envious.

All are sound theories
Rating: 9 Votes
11 months ago

Bus tax. I wonder what they'll do with the $1.5 million?

You have to ask? Waste it.
Rating: 6 Votes
11 months ago

Also known as "From each what he is able".

Anyways, I see no problem with charging for the buses. Most cities require you to pay to park. In exchange, tax rates can be lower. Similarly, tax rates go down in exchange for charging the busses to use the stops.

That's the theory, anyways. In reality, taxes never go down, but perhaps they'll maintain a constant level for a bit longer than they would otherwise.

If everybody rode buses, I don't think rush hours would exist anymore. For every 50 cars you see in rush hour, they could all be replaced with a single bus. You'd end up with 1/50 the volume on the road (a bus isn't much different from a car in looking at how much space they take up, on account of how much space each needs in front of them relative to their sizes.) I ride the bus 120 miles everyday to/from work (and the subway about 5 miles. My commute takes about 75 minutes, each way.)

One of Economic Professors put it this way (I'm paraphrasing):

"Americans want everyone else to use public transportation so the roads become less congested."

I think this about sums up the problem here.
Rating: 4 Votes
11 months ago

More government greed. Nothing new.

Are you serious?

What a crock.

Public Transit and right-of-ways supported by the public shouldn't be double dipped for free by Corporations.

Exactly! plus, if a private corporation wants to offer private/public transport to its employees, it only debilitates the public transport system by ultimately taking away users from it, hurting us all.... but those users and corporations still expect the system to be there at their disposal the rest of the time. So they can't have it both ways if we want a sustainable public transportations system for all. They have the money for it, so don't sweat it... and if they do, go do their stops somewhere else... my guess is that it wouldn't be free either.
Rating: 4 Votes
11 months ago


The government doesn't have any of "its" money. It spends all of MY money that it TAKES from me to REDISTRIBUTE to others it deems more worthy. The only money that corporations have is the PROFIT that they keep after I CHOOSE to spend MY money buying a product or service that they manufacture and/or sell.

People (on the right) always seem to forget what the functions of government actually are. Yes, government transfers SOME tax revenue to those in poverty. however, government also takes care of the following:
- Interstate Freeways: Maintenance, Expansion, etc....
- Schools, School Buses.....etc....
- Public Libraries
- National Defense
- Police, Fire, Paramedics
- Consumer Protection
- Local/National Parks
- Social Security
- Medicare
- Medicaid
- Power Grid
- Infrastructure in general
- and the list goes on and on and on..........
- etc......
- etc......

It's easy to think that all the taxes get taken from you and given to someone else. This is totally incorrect. In face, the vast majority of tax revenue gets spent on public goods; goods that are there for the public to use, i.e. freeways, infrastructure, defense, police departments....etc...

You can argue that you want less taxes, and you can even make a valid argument. However, you (and the millions who think like you) need to realize where government actually spends it's money. Especially local taxes (sales/state) provide services that even you benefit from. But of course, some people just hate the government and everything associated with the government because they're told to do so. Think outside the box and realize that government is not this mystical evil creature that will take away all your rights and possessions.


I do use public transportation though...? I would like it if everyone else started using it, too?

I use it too and so does my professor. He's not advocating this type of behavior. He's just saying (his opinion) that most Americans would prefer everyone else to use it so they can drive their cars on the now less congested freeways.
Rating: 4 Votes
11 months ago

If you want to live in the middle ages like a couple other oldies in the forum, that's up to you. Some of us want to look forward and live in a world full of idealism and progress. I believe people can change but change takes a lot of work. Many like myself will continue to fight the good fight because if you're not a part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

Luckily, I'm not old like you and that other guy. I'm a young liberal so that means that I have a brain right?

These days, it's conservatives that don't have a brain.

If that's how you think then I'm glad that you're old and your antiquated ideas will soon die with you.

Getting a little tired of your ageism and personal attacks on members of this forum.

Slow it up.
Rating: 4 Votes

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