Study: 30 percent of tech shuttle riders would move from SF if there were no tech shuttles


We weren’t able to attend the San Francisco Commission on the Environment’s policy committee meeting on Mon/13, but there were clues (okay, a live Twitter feed) that the debate around the city’s tech shuttle policy was heating up.

The SF Environment commissioners were considering the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s newly introduced private shuttle pilot program, a system that will require tech shuttles to pay for their routine use of Muni bus stops.



(San Francisco does have its share of endearing local-government nerds.)

There were a few interesting tidbits from the exchange between Carli Paine, the SFMTA project manager who is overseeing the tech shuttle policy, and the San Francisco Environment commissioners. 

For one thing, Paine said the SFMTA’s game plan for enforcing the new shuttle program “is to have parking control officers that are dedicated to the program, that are working overtime hours. So they won’t be drawn from other duties.” 

Apparently the $1 per stop, per day fee – which will only allow the agency to break even – will be enough to support an enforcement strategy that envisions paying enforcement officers with 100 percent overtime pay.

Then there was another interesting exchange, in which Paine indicated that a lot of people had been wanting to know whether tech shuttle riders were relocating to San Francisco specifically because the private transportation system made it easier for them to commute to Silicon Valley tech campuses.

When commissioner Ruth Gravanis queried Paine on that point, the SFMTA project manager referenced a University of California at Berkeley study finding that around 30 percent of shuttle riders surveyed would relocate out of San Francisco without the transportation option.

Audio editing by Rebecca Bowe.

Apparently there was quite a public comment session too. SF Environment spokesperson Guillermo Rodriguez told us the meeting brought “a very lively debate.”





At the end of the meeting, the commissioners approved the resolution after making a few amendments that urge the SFMTA “to engage in a robust study of the program’s success in reducing the unintended impacts of commuter shuttles, including their impacts on all San Franciscans.”

The SFMTA board will be voting on the plan on Jan. 21 at 1pm, Room 400, San Francisco City Hall.


What other measures could we impose to remove undesirables from our city? Ban chicken wings and malt liquor to get rid of African-Americans? Embargo HIV meds and lubes to remove the GLBT community? Pass a law against white rice to remove Asians?

The possibilities are endless.

Posted by guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 5:24 pm

Banning lubes is pointless, there is always butter....

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 6:24 pm

That and the white rice ban will cure it.

Posted by guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 6:43 pm

Banning white rice will not drive away Asians, they'll just switch to brown rice or noodles. What, you have a culinary fetish?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 11:43 pm

You are an idiot who understands absolutely nothing about the dynamics of race and class and how they operate in San Francisco, aren't you? Let me guess, you are a white person, with money.

And techie gentrification will cover all the "measures" you joke about- San Francisco's black, Chinese, and LGBT populations are already being displaced from the city in droves.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 17, 2014 @ 8:01 pm

Tech is pretty light on black folks, but I think there's at least some overlap with Chinese and LGBT folks. Really, they're hardly a uniform mass of straight white dudes.

Posted by grendelkhan on Jan. 20, 2014 @ 9:40 pm

The above comment is so damn racist, I'm not even going to dignify the jackass who made it by picking it apart. These scumbags need to get on down to Mountain View with the rest of their spoiled, white, straight brethren.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 5:48 pm

Oblivious to your own hypocracy, eh

I know, "this time racism really is justified"

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 6:04 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 17, 2014 @ 2:35 pm

like the one that techies are "spoiled, white... scumbags" who shouldn't be living in OUR neighborhoods. Kinda like criminally-inclined negroes who lust after white women and ruined everything with their demands in the 50s and 60s!!

Posted by guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 6:07 pm

College "educated" white liberals hang out with each other, and people who agree with them of other races, they call that diversity. The pseudo tolerance of white liberals is a stereotype.

So yes, stereotypes are often helpful.

Posted by guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 10:36 pm

Some people act in stereotypes

College "educated" white conservatives/right-wing nuts hang out with each other and make sexist and anti-ethnic jokes and think they're being funny. Being class-ist, they also hang with some people of another social standing who agree with them, but rarely do they hang with someone of another ethnic group. Diversity to them means nothing more than having a choice of entrees or chocolate, vanilla or strawberry ice cream for dessert. The pseudo tolerance of white conservatives/right-wing nuts does not exist. It's a myth.

So yes, stereotypes are sometimes helpful, on the odd occasion.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 4:49 am

you just said that some right wingers act like progressives, which is true. The pseudo tolerance that true believers hold towards others is obvious.

The right doesn't jabber about tolerance while being anti tolerant like the left does, like the left the right is happy to have people of all races agree with them, they don't parade it around like it makes them more important than the rest of the world.

What is also odd about your post is that the fringe left can talk about race in their paternalistic way but are offended when people don't adhere to this paternalism. Making jokes about race is bad, basing an entire political philosophy on paternalism is good.

Posted by guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 6:40 pm

That pretty much covers it. The techies are mostly young (the industry is known for its ageism), mostly white and straight. Some people refer to the "techie kids." And yes you can add spoiled and self-entitled and it's all about "me" to their description. They've moved into neighborhoods in SF with complete immature disregard for the neighborhoods as if they own the place. Whereas, if I move into a new area, I'm respectful of the current residents and their culture and I keep a low profile. The arrogant and smug "I think I'm better than you" techies do the opposite. Idiots.

If only their corporate shuttles would take these assholes to SFO with a one-way plane ticket to somewhere.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 9:10 pm

who show up to SF and want to change the city to suit them?

Posted by guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 10:13 pm

So you got tired of trolling as "Matlock" and are now using "guest?"

The giveaway is your crazed neurosis with progressives. If you would choose a new preoccupation, you would be less detectable.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 4:54 am

I only wish that they were 'mostly white'. From what I can see a lot of them are China men. And a lot of them are those India-Pakistani guys that WInston Chuchill set free for some reason. All the more reason to get rid of those buses.

My boy Steven Jones is doing a great job of letting everyone know that these immigrants are the cause of many of our problems.

Posted by Joe on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 10:14 pm

You know I remember that....when Winston Chuchill [sic] did that. It was before he died in 1965 and those "India-Pakistani" guys he set free are near or well over 70 years old by now at least, but you know, I see them pouring off those tech shuttles. Well they don't pour off too fluidly mind you. Many with walkers and canes. That must be from all that sitting, hacking and coding you know. Rebecca Bowe didn't mention that in this article. Clearly, an oversight on her part.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 11:16 pm

I doubt the person who posted it meant for it to be taken literally. It was likely an attempt (admittedly a not very sophisticated one) to follow in the satirical tradition of Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal."

Also, I am not sure if you have ever been to Mountain View, but your comment about "white, straight brethren" shows you really need to get out more in the Bay Area. My good friend, who also happens to be named Chris, lived for many years quite happily as a very flamboyant and out gay black man in Mountain View, and he was hardly the only minority there. Silicon Valley is quite diverse, just like the rest of the Bay Area.

Posted by Chris on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 2:00 am

Hiring people to collect the fee from the tech companies so that they can pay their paycheck. no benefit to the city at all. All this does is create a couple admin jobs. This "Job" would take someone 1 hour per month if they just did it this way. $1 per stop/per day. Google makes 200 stops per day. March has 31 days. google owes $6200.

Why the fuck do we need to have an agency to figure this out? This is just plain retarded. What moron thought of this? Seriously, who thought of this and who is approving?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 5:59 pm

Hire 2-3 people who cost the city around $200,000 each in salary and benefits to "administer" a program a grade school student in remedial math could put together. And those jobs will prolly be parceled out to the mayor's office and a couple of key supervisors to fill - so they'll be patronage jobs for life.

That's how it works. That's how it's always worked. That's how it will always work.

Posted by guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 6:23 pm

Get rid of the techie shuttles. Make these self-entitled, self-absorbed Assholes take public transportation like the rest of us. Their ass is not too good for public transport, contrary to their beliefs.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 6:36 pm

"Make these self-entitled, self-absorbed Assholes take public transportation like the rest of us."

Thanks for proving that the driving force behind all of this "uproar" is envy of them having nicer things than you. I want to drive a brand new Mercedes and have a 5 bedroom home. I don't make enough to have those things, but I sure as hell don't bitch about others who CAN afford it.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 11:53 pm

You missed the point, and I suspect deliberately so. Either that or you're very thick. Why would you want all of that (brand new Mercedes and have a 5 bedroom home)? Why do you need all of that? You're the one whose envious. I wouldn't want any of that. I'm not materialistic like you. If I were given that, I'd sell it. I have no need for it or interest in it. But I acknowledge that you've been wallpapering this site with that envy nonsense for weeks. It's time to give it a rest because it's moot/irrelevant. You're saturating this site with the "Politics of Envy" Card and that's part of the Class Warfare terminology. You also want to talk about your "Politics of Greed?" (You sound very greedy of having to have all of this materialistic stuff, I guess, to try to keep up with somebody "Keeping up with the Jones-ses." Get some therapy).

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 12:13 am

About "Make these self-entitled, self-absorbed Assholes take public transportation like the rest of us."

What you don't understand is that the work that these people do makes a lot of money for their employer. And that bus is basically an extension of the office that gets Google 2 more hours of productivity out of each rider. They turn on their computers, plug into the wifi and start working. So the cost of the bus is well worth it to Google.

But if your employer asked you to please take a comfortable bus to work for free you would insist on saying 'no thanks, I'm going to pay for Caltrain instead'.

Maybe you're not self entitled, but you are obviously self-absorbed because you don't even bother to look at it for any perspective other than your own.

Posted by Guest2 on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 12:42 am

"... but you are obviously self-absorbed because you don't even bother to look at it for any perspective other than your own."

What you said I don't understand in your second paragraph, I already knew and understand. It's common knowledge that techies work on the shuttles. Doh. It's an extension of their "office hours."

I look at and care deeply about the gentrification, evictions, people's lives being completely disrupted and people being forced out of this city, and my city being turned upside down by these corporatist parasites, some of whom receive corporate welfare, while they hate on the homeless. Someone who cares about all that is not someone who can be described as "self-absorbed" by any definition.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 2:50 am

What makes San Francisco "your" city? Because you moved here 20 years ago? My family has been here for generations. It's more "my" city than "your" city. I've known people who've lived here for decades but moved to Oakland because it was too expensive to stay. Did they complain? No. They saw it as a fact of life. The Richmond used to be Irish, Italian, and Jewish. Now it's mostly Chinese and Russian. So what? The Mission used to be primarily Irish. Now it's mostly Latino.

These tech people get to have nicer things (like private buses and nicer homes) because their employer and the marketplace puts a much higher monetary value on their skill set than yours. Better paying job = more income = nicer perks = more choices in life. How hard is that for you to figure out?

And you sure as hell come across as a self-absorbed, sanctimonious, self-righteous SOB who thinks SF should stay (or become) the way YOU want it to be.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 4:20 pm

"These tech people get to have nicer things (like private buses and nicer homes) because their employer and the marketplace puts a much higher monetary value on their skill set than yours. Better paying job = more income = nicer perks = more choices in life. How hard is that for you to figure out?"

The idea is that by using public bus stops, and disrupting public transportation these busses are using public goods without paying. This is called an externality or market inefficiency- when the true cost of something is paid by a third party that does not benefit in the economic interaction. In this case the parties are Google, Genentech, et. all and their employees who are able to use their commute as productive work time. Google saves money, employee saves time while the third party are tax payers are stuck with the bill- in this case construction and maintained of the stops, as well as lost time due to service delays when the busses occupy stops and slow down MUNI service. Please don't tell me they don't do this- I have daily evidence to the contrary.

Google's profits are at an all time high. Why do they need to take advantage of SF taxpayers and exploit our resources for $1 per stop? This type of behavior reflects the fact that tech companies are not the liberal open minded purveyors of liberation through technology that they claim to be, but in fact are run by Robber Barons- worse than the worst of the Gilded Age. Really.

(Those new Chromebooks are pretty cool though.)

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 7:40 pm

more and better stuff.

Who'd have thunk it, huh?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 7:46 pm

The image you consistently portray of yourself is that of a flippant, extremely shallow, superficial, pretentious and materialistic person with a craving for getting "more and better stuff."

(Most of which will end up in the landfill).

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 8:06 pm

You have a problem with reality?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 8:29 pm

I don't recall this argument when food trucks started parking at the curb and feeding our effete Guardian types?

Posted by guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 8:21 pm

Especially rent at FULL market value...then who says they are not paying for public services? Their rent pays the taxes that the landlords fork over to the city...Thus they are as public as you or me, in fact, they may be even more public than you or me...

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2014 @ 12:32 pm

City streets are public and therefore free to use by everyone.

If you want to charge for using a street, that is called a private road, i.e. the type you pay tolls to use. At least out west, we usually restrict those to bridges and tunnels.

A shuttle bus that does just one round-trip five times a week is not placing a heavy burden on the city's streets, and certainly less than the 50 or so cars it replaces.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2014 @ 12:57 pm

Why are you posting that you don't care but think they should suffer like you do?

Posted by maybe a guest on Jan. 18, 2014 @ 7:07 am

The Bluetooth wireless mouse is quite simple to use. A very low-essential way to
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Posted by exact5 on Apr. 13, 2014 @ 7:08 pm

I took Caltrain for two weeks to commute to the SB. Fortunately that was just for training, my job at the time was over in Emeryville. The Caltrain part of the commute, other than Giants game days, was great. However getting to Caltrain via Muni was a royal PITA. This will hopefully improve in the future when (if?) Caltrain goes to the new TransBay Terminal. I also worked at a company near the ballpark, same deal. Would my commute be 20mins? an hour? Many of these companies also offer Caltrain shuttles. But the weak link in the chain (as it so often is) is Muni.

This problem is not new. In fact, it seems that every politician in the last two decades has sworn to fix Muni. It's almost a joke now. Likewise, the taxi situation in the city has been awful for about the same amount of time. Lots of posturing, city spends loads of money, nothing happens. So is it really a huge surprise that people are giving up and going outside the system? Even when Muni gets money, they suddenly have expenses from other city departments. Or better yet, some interest group or politician with a pet project derails the funding to something else. The city spends a metric fuckton of money each year and still can't manage basic transit services. Transit first should mean having a really good system that will make people not even want a car. It shouldn't mean making every other option so expensive that you have no choice but to ride the shitty public transport.

Add in the fact that for a relatively small area, there are over a dozen transit agencies - Muni, BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit, VTA, SamTrans, etc. - each going in their own direction. Each with their own fare structures. No sharing of resources, no economies of scale. Hell, just getting the damn Clipper Card (renamed because TransLink had become too tainted), took way too long. The agencies don't work well together and seem more interested in serving their own interest rather than the public. So you can see how commuting between multiple systems can become expensive, time-consuming, and rather frustrating.

It isn't about being elitist, it's about wanting to get to work in a reasonable amount of time, without a ton of hassle, multiple transfers, passes, etc.

Posted by robco on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 11:01 pm


Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 8:56 pm


Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 9:39 pm


Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 9:39 pm

We should get rid of buses and ramp up carbon monoxide omissions by axing the Techie Bus.

God bless the automobile!

Posted by Guest Lecturer on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 10:34 pm

Right clicking the mouse normally brings up a pop up menu that makes it possible for you to do added matters.

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Posted by Pat on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 7:55 pm

The true beauty of this thread is how both sides are tone deaf.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 12:52 am

Yes, it really astounds me.

I realize there are a lot of different opinions in this city about tech shuttles and all the rest, but I really don't think most people are as strident as the folks who post here.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 6:09 pm

Well it's not just this topic. It's any topic involving the subject of politics. (Non-political articles get hardly any, if any, comments.) But with politics, the comments are usually the same in tone....often because it's the same people on all threads. The comments are predictable. It can be about cycling or the homeless or this piece of work mayor, and the comments (tone) are no different than on this thread. There are a lot of immature people on here and just like on other forums some thrive on using hateful and baiting language to get a rise out of someone. This forum is a playground for some people. Look down the page aways (I think it is) and someone wrote some asinine childish comment about "this is fun" and it was nothing but immature, juvenile hate. Embarrassing really.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 10:26 pm

So I'm trying to figure this out, the google busses will have to pay a dollar a stop, for the whole bus full of techies, why not make them pay a dollar for every person on the bus per stop, and if they say no we can't do that, then take your busses and leave. If 30% of the techies say they will move out of the city without the busses, I will personally draw them a map to the freeway that takes them out of here.If there is no one on the bus at the stop then fine them for driving those polluting things around with no passengers. If they don't like it they can take there businesses to some other state, I say Texas. Twitter will hopefully leave when they have to start paying taxes anyway, and what will they leave as their legacy? A gentrified neighbor hood that has lost all its legacy businesses,culture and diversity. Maybe then out artists, muscians, teachers, seniors and disabled will be able to live in the city that they breathed the life into, only to have it sucked out by temporary inhabitants.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 1:14 am

No, you go back across the rio grande wet back…..

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 7:39 am

Hola Marke, could you kindly remove this extremely offensive comment? Muchísimas gracias.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 6:57 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 7:43 pm

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