CHRIS ROBERTS/2013 S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO

CHRIS ROBERTS/2013 S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO

SF takes smart first step in regulating tech shuttles

The pilot program that will charge fees for tech shuttles —along with any private commuter coach — to use Muni bus stops to pick up and drop off passengers surely will not be the end of the debate about the issue, but it is a step in the right direction for regulating the buses that have inconvenienced some neighborhoods for years.

At another time, regulation of the private buses would have been a small neighborhood story. For years the private buses have gone through areas that include Noe Valley and the Castro district, and neighbors were up in arms about them — especially the noise and the routes through small streets where other buses do not drive.

As The City and regional economy recovered from the Great Recession, the number of buses increased. They also took on a new symbolism. Along the way, they were dubbed the Google buses and portrayed as emblematic of the gentrification that high-paid tech workers were causing in San Francisco neighborhoods.

Just weeks after two high-profile protests around tech buses in San Francisco — a Google bus and an Apple bus — Mayor Ed Lee and Transportation Director Ed Reiskin of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, alongside other city leaders, announced the fee structure that will charge the private shuttles to use 200 Muni stops throughout The City.

Housing and anti-eviction advocates quickly attacked the fee, which is $1 per stop per day. But state law prevents the SFMTA from charging any fee greater than the cost of administering the program. Any larger fee would have to go to the ballot.

A second point that became lost in the debate is the original shuttle debate: private companies illegally using public infrastructure. The SFMTA was studying the issue of private shuttles before the big tech influx to The City to address concerns surrounding transportation — not the housing issues to which such transportation may lead.

The current and future housing issues facing San Francisco will require multipronged fixes. Charging private shuttles to operate in The City, if that is something voters want, could play a role in the solution, but it is not a cure-all. It also could have negative consequences such as more people driving on local roads and highways.

In the end, it would be best to remember that offering solutions will be more beneficial for the future of The City than merely demonizing government agencies, officials and certain businesses.editorialsGoogle busOpinionSan Francisco housingtech shuttles

Just Posted

Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo led a late-game comeback against the Packers, but San Francisco lost, 30-28, on a late field goal. (Courtesy of San Francisco 49ers)
The Packers beat the Niners in a heartbreaker: Don’t panic

San Francisco is no better and no worse than you thought they were.

Dominion Voting Systems, a Denver-based vendor, is under contract to supply voting machines for elections in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/Examiner file)
Is San Francisco’s elections director impeding voting machine progress?

Open source technology could break up existing monopoly

Health experts praised Salesforce for keeping its Dreamforce conference at Moscone Center outdoors and on a small scale. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Happy birthday, Marc Benioff. Your company did the right thing

Salesforce kept Dreamforce small, which made all kinds of sense

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers proved to be too much for the Niners in a Week 3 loss to Green Bay. It was San Francisco’s home opener for the 2021 season. (Courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers.)
Week 3 NFL roundup: Packers victory over 49ers caps off a stellar Sunday

By Tyler Dunne New York Times Here’s the Week 3 roundup of… Continue reading

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, pictured with Rose Pak in 2014, says the late Chinatown activist was “helping to guide the community away from the divisions, politically.”
Willie and Rose: How an alliance for the ages shaped SF

How the Mayor and Chinatown activist shaped San Francisco, then and now

Most Read