Those infuriating private buses

Photo from

People in the Mission continue to get more and more angry with the private tech-company buses clogging streets and filling up Muni stops; here's a great photo of two of the behemoths forcing Muni passengers to walk out into the street to catch the bus that is supposed to be at the stop.

There's a way to put an end to this, of course. Any other outfit that blocked Muni stops that regularly, with that much of an impact, would not only get repeated $250 tickets (as if Google cares about $250) but would eventually get a cease-and-desist order from the city. I know it's not an earth-shattering problem, but it drives a lot of us nuts -- and at some point, the city attorney needs to make it clear that violating city bus zones on a daily basis is not acceptable.



Apple, for one, pays below industry standard wages because it is viewed as a privilege to work for Apple.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 6:19 am

remuneration comes in the form of bonuses, profit-sharing and stock options, as with any high-value professional job.

Posted by guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 6:39 am

I usually associate anon with vapid, repetitive, and mostly untruthful posts. I'm concerned the esteemed "guest" username will be soon degraded by anon as well.

On a more important subject, readers should know that generous stock option packages and sizable profit-sharing checks are most often limited to the highest paid tech workers, often at manager level and above, with perhaps as much as 80% of all stock options and profit-sharing bonuses given to the very highest levels of management. In truth, most of us are lower-level flunkies, working 70 hour weeks with the hope and fear that we're not part of the bottom 10% who are fired every year so that new brighter, fresher-faced college graduates (or H1-B visa holders) can take our place in the rat maze.

Anon is a landlord, evictor, and property speculator. It's doubtful anon knows very much about what really goes on behind the well-protected walls of giant Silicon Valley tech companies.

Posted by guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 12:05 pm

"guest" and "anon" here, then it's going to be a long day for you.

Re stock options, in the smaller tech outfits, almost everyone has an equity share via options, synthetic if necessary. Well, maybe the janitor doesn't get them, but a few secretaries at google became millionaires, as I recall.

So the "options are only for the senior management" is an old school thing. They are becoming a norm, at least for anyone to graduate level, which is almost everyone these days.

Modern American business is closer to the kind of worker ownership that Marx envisioned than any of these so-called "co-operatives".

Posted by guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 12:52 pm

The stock option lottery is a tax on those who failed math.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

stock options. Maybe it was just luck but, hey, it means you should choose your employer in the same way as if you are assessing a stock.

I'd guess that most SF millionaires got there thru real estate, but stock options would be second.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

which just goes to show that it's better to be an employer than to choose one

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

then even when you don't win, you don't lose either. It's a bonus, literally and, if you know you are good and/or can pick winners, it's a life-changer.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

My wife takes the Genentech shuttle at Glenn Park BART.
Want to know the worst part of this?

All the creeps lurking around the GP BART station seeking an opportunity to mugg someone? I see these predators after I drop her off. She gets $5 from Genentech for taking the green option and not driving in to work

The shuttle bus does not interfere with MUNI. MUNI has bad service but it is not the shuttles casuing it.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 10:59 am

at most BART stations. There are usually too many people around for them to do more than just look unsavory, however.

Once you are inside one of those buses, the skant and stench of San Francisco just melts away. That's the idea, I guess. Sure beats CalTrain and SamTrans, that's for sure.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 11:14 am

Until the MTC and MTA figure out how to identify the investment to make transit attractive, we're going to be seeing people relying on private means of transportation, autos and buses.

Muni was unreliable before the private buses, Muni does not connect to regional transit southbound that is easy to use, CalTrain just can't run often enough like BART does to be a reliable alternative.

If the City did charge private carriers for using Muni stops, there is no guarantee those proceeds would go to transit capital and transit operations. They'd probably get spent on consultants.

We're not going to see a serious commitment to providing the level of transit that can service new transit oriented development under this ruling elite.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 14, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

-- though I'd point out that the phenomenon of private buses are as much a symptom of present-day economic disparity as the failings of public transit agencies.

Speaking specifically of CalTrain though, the timing of Muni's connection to the Peninsula's rail system *always* wastes 20 minutes of time per passenger and it has gone on like that for well over a decade.

The Alcatel automatic train control system that Willie Brown & Co. bought through Booz Allen Hamilton forces would be train riders wait fora minute and a half just on the other side of 4th Street from the train station so that they always have to catch the next train.

Before Alcatel -- and before Caltrain installed their security doors to the platforms -- riders could make expeditious transit between the stations and make that connection. Riders not being compelled to buy tickets ahead of time meant that there was impediment to simply boarding the trains.

This is just one example among at least several I might cite of regional transit agencies apparently being run in failure mode by *intent*.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 14, 2013 @ 8:16 pm

surely not a lack of funds. The operators are almost insanely well paid for the limited skills required, and Muni gets hige subsidies to provide even the very bad level of service they currently provide.

Many people will not use muni because it is slow, unreliable, dirty and sometimes dangerous. Crazy stinking homeless people are seemingly allowed to ride the buses and trains all day long, and there is minimal enforcement of anti-social and petty criminal behavior.

That is why so many people use cars, private buses or BART which actually works much more like a true transit system than Muni which, as far as I can see, exists to provide jobs for the rude and incompetent.

I'll often walk up to two miles rather than take Muni. It's a disgrace.

Posted by guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 6:05 am

$27/hr ~ $54K/pa is not insanely well paid.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 6:16 am

knowing what that same job pays in the private sector or in other cities.

My sources indicate that in many cases the job is worth only 50% of that figure.

Posted by guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 6:38 am

It is nearly impossible to live within commute distance on less.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 8:25 am

The question was about what your job is worth.

If you decide to have eleven children, you need more to live on, but that does not mean that your labour is any more valuable.

We do have a minimum wage, however, and if your skills do not command that level, you will be paid that anyway as a concession.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 9:47 am

I took it, then had to run out into the middle of the street to catch the bus. I was worried that the bus on the left (a Tesla employee commuter bus) was going to hit somebody as we moved out into the street. These buses are a symptom of problems and, I think, cause more problems than the benefit they offer. Pro-commuter bus people keep saying that these buses are taking so many cars off the freeway. While to an extent, I am sure that is true, we should also keep in mind that the shuttles are a huge selling point for apartments in the City. Many people would otherwise be living closer to where they work: down the Peninsula. There is no reason these buses should be allowed to use SFMTA bus stops when they clearly cause delays and safety issues for Muni passengers. Find a central terminal where they all can unload, charge them fees and use that money to increase Muni service. This isn't kindergarten, tech workers don't need to be dropped off at their doorstep.

Posted by The Tens on Mar. 14, 2013 @ 8:10 pm

That always solves the problem when it comes to government services. I'm sure the MUNI mechanic who made $280,000+ last year needs more money.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 14, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

I'm kind of fascinated by commenters like you and would love to take some photos of you. I'd be happy to buy you coffee or a drink/keep you anonymous, give you a print. You can see some of my portrait shots on my facebook page: you can email me at thetenssf at gmail if you're interested.

Posted by The Tens on Mar. 14, 2013 @ 9:38 pm

And I'm kind of fascinated by that post. I can't imagine why anyone would want such a thing.

But anyway, here's the picture you're looking for and you don't even have to get together with it and buy it anything:

Hope this helps.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 14, 2013 @ 11:28 pm

True. And it's just basic sense---not that that's in abundance in these comments---that one should live closer to where one works versus making San Francisco a suburb of San José and Silicon Valley, which is what is happening. So when is this Tech Bubble going to burst?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 14, 2013 @ 9:23 pm
Posted by guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 5:58 am

I don't see you plaintively whining about those? Why not?

Is it because the people inside are lower paid and work for the State?

Posted by guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 6:00 am

parking spaces rather than the muni bus stops. So, for instance, today I saw the google bus waiting in a street that had no parked cars because it was street cleaning there.

Perhaps the shuttles vary their stopping point daily to take advantage of the street cleaning schedule and the extra parking space thereby released back to the community.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 9:50 am

Here he goes again being a stupid jealous crybaby.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 10:49 am

of MUNI on a daily basis they might want to spend more so employees get higher salaries and MUNI can hire more consultants. It's the "shared pain" philosophy similar to those who want to impose austerity on the country. It also doesn't work. Aversive conditioning, which is what this is all about, results in people seeking to avoid the source of their discomfort (jn this case MUNI) NOT in working together to change the source of the discomfort. I have friends who never owned a car in their lives who bought one after having to deal with the frustrations and stress of MUNI and Cal Train on a daily basis.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 11:52 am

for a "publisher" you sure do seem to be writing most of the Guardian these days. when does the chain cut the cord on your pathetic, thin rag of a paper? so much jibber jabber, so little news. just lots of ranting bs and lots of swears. meanwhile the Weekly and the Examiner kick your asses. the tumor known as the Guardian will be cut from the corporate body soon....

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

some kind of deal has been done whereby if Tim continues to go throught the motions, his pension will be saved.

But the life and zest and incisiveness of this organ has been neutered. It's a sad sight these days, perhaps reflecting the fall and failure of progressives in general.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

The trolls have been singing the demise of SFBG since the first time they allowed trolls to thrive on this site. Well, I hate to break it to all you Chicken Littles, but BG has been alive and kicking for nearly 50 years. And no doubt, they'll still be around to celebrate their big 5-0.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

those "trolls" got it right.

But the comment here was more about how tired and unconvincing the articles have become.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

a person has to step well out into the street for various reasons to get on and off, it certainly isn't the end of the world that a person has to do so because of a google bus.

The goofy left seems to think that if they are put out by someone better off than them it is an atrocity, if it's a bum shitting and pissing around the neighbourhood people need to deal and the bum should get some sort of award.

If google just started having buses the progressobots would be saying how great they are, since the buses have been around for awhile the progressobots are up in arms.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 16, 2013 @ 5:51 am

When reading these odes the Guardian authors put in links to their own works, this is like citing the bible to prove the bible.

Linking opinion to other opinion pieces doesn't make your opinion more factual, it's sort of cultish.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 16, 2013 @ 5:58 am

I get that's it's annoying but what's the solution?

The private bus riders move out of the city? They bring a lot of money into the city's economy which means local businesses can employ more people.

The buses are banned and people drive to work?

Posted by SFChris on Mar. 17, 2013 @ 6:04 am

do people living in Oakland commute to work in SF and people living in SF commute to the South Bay. Leaving city planning up to the "free market" has turned out to be a sick joke and proves why the Bay Area will never be a civilized place to live.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 4:20 pm

where they work, by divine mayoral order. And you should have to move house every time your job changes.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 4:33 pm

There should be no free movement of people across city borders!

Posted by anon on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

Oakland/SF commutes are the least of our commute problems. The problem comes when people are driving ~30 miles or more to work competing with millions of others.

Ideally, the housing market would not tie people down so that it would be easier to relocate nearer to work.

But the economics of housing, rental with first, last and deposit and the onerousness of financing for purchase present barriers to workforce mobility.

If the goal is environmental sustainability, then these issues come to bear. If you don't give a shit about environmental sustainability except as a way to justify more craptacular condo construction, then it is of no concern to you.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

rent control and Prop 13 which both reward those who never move.

That said, people should be able to live wherever they want and, if you are happy to drive 50 miles to work, why should I care either way?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 5:34 pm

You live in North Beach you work for ________ in the Silicon Valley. How long of a trip and the routing you must take to get from Washington Square to 444 Castro St.
You company doesn't have a private shuttle.

Posted by Garrett on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

Why not charge Google and other firms to use those bus stops, after all they are buses, they are getting people off the roads, less car traffic means more space for MUNI.

Posted by Garrett on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

so there is no basis to charge any bus thats tops there, because that is the entire purpose of a bus stop ie a stop for buses!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

Hey, if the City government is not going to enforce the $267.00 ticket each time one of these buses makes ONE stop in a MUNI bus zone, then they should cease and desist giving tickets to the rest of us who make a one minute or less stop to pick up a passenger of our own.

Let's see....I figure that each bus makes a dozen or so stops and there are 65 routes in SF so that might be about 700 infractions per DAY times five working days so that would be 3,500 per week.
' $267.00 per infraction, that would be about $9,400 per week or about $485,9400 a year in fines.

Now if you think the elimination of those cars, pollution, bad drivers and congestion on the roads is worth giving up hefty half-million in fines, then I guess we can count on those of you to support the rest of us who pull up to a MUNI zone to pick up a passenger rather than double park and stop traffic and possibly cause an accident.

I know one thing, those companies who do this can afford to pop for a $267.00 infraction a lot easier than I can.

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