A provider of technology industry private shuttles widely known as “Google Buses” was kicked out of San Francisco’s Commuter Shuttle Program in April.
Now the shuttle company wants back in — but it seems they’ll need to wait. Leaving transit service for hundreds of technology employees remains in limbo.
After a meeting between the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the Mayor’s Office and Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation, Inc. on Friday, attorneys for the mayor asked for a continuation of Bauer’s appeal of a decision to deny it permits to use city bus stops.
The issue will be reheard in late August, according to the SFMTA.
The appeal follows an April decision by the SFMTA to deny Bauer’s a permit for the Commuter Shuttle Program. Without a permit, Bauer’s shuttles were essentially kicked out of Muni bus stops and some public curb spaces.
Bauer’s operates private shuttle buses to ferry tech workers from San Francisco to the corporate campuses of Electronic Arts, Zynga and Cisco systems, among other companies.
The SFMTA granted Bauer’s a grace period of three weeks in April to notify its riders of the upcoming disruption to service, but the agency was unable to tell the San Francisco Examiner before press time if service has yet been interrupted.
In a letter to Bauer’s, SFMTA wrote the company’s permit was denied because they received an outsize number of community complaints and is not in “labor harmony” with its drivers.
Mark Gleason is secretary treasurer for the Teamsters local 665, which has organized tech shuttle drivers across San Francisco. Bauer’s tried forming a “company union,” he said, to combat the Teamsters attempt to unionize Bauer’s drivers. This tactic came under fire from the National Labor Relations Board earlier this year.
“Other employers don’t do that,” Gleason said. With other shuttle providers “we sit down and have a reasonable talk.”
Thursday evening the Teamsters staged a protest against Bauer’s stopping shuttles along Franklin Street.
Bauer’s did not respond to requests for comment before press time.
Last Tuesday, the SFMTA Board of Directors also approved moving commuter shuttle stops from Van Ness Avenue to Franklin and Gough streets to accommodate construction of the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project.
A stop at Valencia and 25th streets was also moved to Cesar Chavez and Bartlett streets after nearby Synergy School complained of conflicts between shuttles and parents dropping off children.
Flarnie Marchan is a local tech worker who rides the shuttles. In public comment she said “Any potential stop elimination especially in the Dolores neighborhood might force me to reconsider whether I need a car to get to and from work.”
David Thomas is a building manager of an apartment building on Bush Street, where commuter shuttle stops were recently placed, he told the board.
He said, “I’d like you to consider how it’d be to have two hundred people outside your window and diesel engines fifteen feet outside your bed” every morning at 5:45 a.m.BauersCommuter Shuttle ProgramSFMTATeamsterstechTransit