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    This is bullshit and counterproductive. The protestors mostly have jobs. They just don’t pay as well as a Google job. A lot of these jobs have social impacts that we are all very happy exist. There should be a way for someone with such a job to have reasonable housing or the city becomes uninhabitable for everyone. But the city also requires this big chunk of moderately high paid workers – who in the end do fund these other jobs.

    It’s the housing, stupid.



    Question, how many of the supposed 59% of private bus
    riders who claim they would use a car will actually follow through on
    that when 2+ hours commutes (driving, not typing away on work), nightly
    parking hassles, and fuel costs are all actually figured in to the

    125% of them



    Recent Street Performances:1) are auditions in front of news cameras 2) entertaining 3) have people with considerable dance and gymnastic skills. Too bad Google buses have have to provide the backdrop.



    high-speed trains are not meant for regular commute. If CAHSR is going to operate like in most of Europe, it will be an all-seat, compulsory reservation system, where you must have a ticket and an assigned seat to board. It is not a service meant to be used as a subway you just go board at whim. Finally, there would be only so much capacity available to be used by regional commute travel as commuters cannot take space of – say – San Francisco – Los Angeles travelers.

    The blend system is a bad idea, but the cities are bringing this upon themselves as they fight the alternative (fully segregated HSR/local track with plenty of elevated sections).



    HSR shouldn’t ever agree to that. HSR is not planned as a commuter service, and it is unlikely to carry standing passengers (as most high-speed systems in the World don’t).

    Once more regional services (Caltrain) are in place, and people depend on them, the political pressure against “expensive high speed rail” cancelling some of “their” trains would be enormous.

    Once some sort of transportation service is in place, it is very hard to take it away for what will be a worsened situation. Even ferries suffer from this bias.



    I don’t think so, the region is adding jobs and a number of people working there wants to live in San Francisco.



    “Indie” arts, music and otherwise a very active cultural scene (the kind of think tech-haters love to whine about being “lost”) can only flourish if they are immersed in an environment where there are a lot of people with disposable income that somehow finds its way to create a market for theater, cozy music concerts, handicrafts and the like.

    I think most of the people whining about the techies would feel much more an income loss if the techies moved out. I don’t think they actually want some economic depression to ‘keep rents down’ as they’d also lose income more than the rent would be lowered.

    Overall, they are a very incoherent bunch. It is like they want the benefits of having a strong regional labor economy, while despising those that lead it.



    A basic reason for shuttles to be company-specific is that they allow employees to work while in transit. Many of these companies have security policies against – for instance- opening a notebook in a Startbucks and working with sensitive material, whereas, as far as I know, the tech buses are considered places allowed for work (like the homes of the employees or the private rendezvous area in their HQ.)


    Jamison Wieser

    Actually… The City has already decided to pursue acquiring the property if (when) the owners want to sell that Chevron. These concepts come from the 2010 “Upper Market Community Vision & Recommendations” and we’ve come a long way from 17th being an open street where we had to dodge cars coming down the hill at high-speed.


    Jeffrey Baker

    I LOLed.


    Jeffrey Baker

    Googlers have a paid benefit for self-powered commuting that accrues into an account that can be disbursed to charity at the end of the year. In addition there are well-known daily “SF2G” rides from SF to Mountain View (lots of companies, not exclusively Googlers) and an equivalent but noticeably smaller “EB2G” for the East Bay.

    So yes, and they do. Maybe there should be some public competition between Google and FB and Apple or something, but I doubt it would increase much the bike commuting which is already widely practiced.


    Jeffrey Baker

    There’s little reason to use a bike when the buses come pretty close to where you live, and the tech companies all have bikes on their campuses. You’d see more bikes at the shuttle stops that serve less dense housing areas, like in the Oakland hills, Danville, Santa Cruz, and whatnot. The bus pictured can actually hold quite a few bikes; I think 9 on the back and maybe half a dozen in the lower compartments.


    Nicholas Littlejohn

    Oh my god! Bikes are busy reducing pollution and congestion and in my way. They should pay high taxes!


    Nicholas Littlejohn

    They had some pretty awesome ideas in their time..


    Nicholas Littlejohn

    They are double parked over our bike lanes in the Mission and Valencia to be sure.


    Nicholas Littlejohn

    Let’s hope if any give up on the shuttles, they at least buy electric cars.

    Dense, two story biodiesel shuttles make some sense but I see few bicycles on the racks. What gives with this, is it always door to door service?


    Nicholas Littlejohn

    Google and tech companies should do a bike commuting contest!



    That pictured Metrolink coach is the NEW Hyundai Rotem coach with the P40-look cab car and is NOT one of the coaches to be sold off.



    I think they should add a 1 am and 2 am SB train as well to enable people to take public transit after a night on the town in SF



    We know there will be a tech crash. Ever since the victory of the old “supply-side” economics with the reaganites, the old boom&bust era of the pre-New Deal has returned and thus the 2000 tech bust and the 2009 housing mega-bust. But this coming tech bust is different than the 2000 crash. There’ll be a bust but nowhere on the level of 2000.



    How does 2~5 min longer traveling time affect existing riders? I believe convenience (Frequency) offset the traveling time increase.



    There are 3 locations of 4 track segment and Millbrae station have 3 tracks. Technically, NB local train can wait for by-passing express train at Lawrence, Redwood junction, Millbrae and Bayshore. Local train will be significantly slower but Baby Bullet can be run every 15 minutes.


    Karen Lynn Allen

    I live in Noe Valley where thirty (I am not kidding) of these buses (Google! Apple, Genetech! Some other unmarked company!) go in front of my house every day. I am fine with these buses. I would rather have these thirty buses go by my house THAN 900 CARS. Enormous numbers of people in Noe Valley have been driving to jobs in Silicon Valley ever since I move here twenty years ago. I am delighted to have them take a bus instead.

    When I am out walking, biking, jogging in my neighborhood and other neighborhoods, I have never had a bad run in with a corporate bus. Not once. I will not argue that others haven’t had a bad experience, but not once has one been double-parked in a bike lane I was riding in or nearly run me over in a crosswalk. In contrast, I have bad experiences with cars on a DAILY basis–blocking the bike lanes forcing me into fast traffic, honking, cutting me off, not seeing me in the crosswalk as they blast through the stop sign, not allowing me to cross (as a pedestrian) even when I arrive at the intersection first, etc. Sometimes I have two or three bad experiences in a single day. Again, corporate buses–not a single bad experience. Private cars–never-ending bad experiences. In fact, I would say corporate buses are far nicer to me than Muni buses. Not that all Muni bus drivers are mean, maybe only half. But I have never had a corporate bus driver not wait for me to cross the street, or not wait before pulling out as I ride past on my bike, etc. Muni drivers–again, about half–do pull these stunts routinely.

    No member of my family works for these tech companies with buses, I receive no payment from them. My prime concern is the well-being of San Francisco and the planet. Energy-wise, private cars are a disaster. Climate-wise, private cars are a disaster. Health-wise private cars are a disaster. Space-wise private cars are a disaster. Corporate buses make it possible for people working in Silicon Valley to reduce or eliminate their use of private cars. They make it possible for people living in San Francisco to own no car at all.

    In the face of declining world net energy available, people who live in San Francisco use far less energy than people living in the suburbs, even if they commute by bus or rail to work. They live in fewer square feet to heat and light, they make more non-commute trips by foot, bike or transit. They generally don’t have lawns or swimming pools. And they generally have no need for air conditioning. Yes, it would be better if companies could locate in San Francisco rather than in horribly inaccessible corporate parks. (Talking to you, Apple.) But as long as Silicon Valley towns refuse to build dense, walkable neighborhoods, the buses are the second best option; far better than suburban sprawl into the ungodly reaches of the South Bay. If there is not enough room on our streets for these buses to either stop or traverse (because the roads are too narrow), then private car storage should be reduced until there is enough room. Low carbon emissions transportation is a far higher priority than private car storage on public land.

    Now if the real issue is that rents are too high (and the buses are just an indirect way to complain about this) this bubble is so close to bursting that all you have to do is wait a few more months. (In the meantime, grab some popcorn and watch the air coming out of the Chinese bubble first.)Then the for rent signs will spring up like mushrooms on every block, just like they did in 2001 after the bubble burst. But then the problem will be having a job at all.


    Aaron Bialick

    Think you missed the point…


    Richard Mlynarik

    As a 5th generation San Franciscan I …

    Excellent. No need to keep reading. Anything, from this author, on any subject, ever.



    Once built cement and blacktop require very little care.

    Well then, let’s go get those people who spent 10 billion dollars on just Doyle drive and the bay bridge in the last decade, because they were already built and needed little care.

    Aside from that large scale example, you are pulling that put of your tail. The thinking that roads do not need maintainance is the reason out roads are in such disrepair.

    How the city spends money is orthogonal to how it is collected. My position is that It would be better to cut spending and thus lower MUNI fares than to cut spending and remove Sunday meters


    WilliamH'Ford IV LLC

    Wow Aaron what a monumental feet of mental gymnastics. Way to completely
    ignore the root of the arguments made for another review of the buses.
    Way to discount the consistent, measured and legitimate concern about
    impact on existing public transportation and safety of cyclists and

    I, like many, do not view the private bus issue
    through gentrification goggles, instead focusing on safety and service

    But hey you are right I guess I just have to deal with
    private buses double parking, or using bike lanes, where the MUNI stop
    isn’t desirable, using small residential streets that cannot safely
    accommodate buses (and are not used by MUNI), and blocking MUNI service
    for the benefit of a few, right? Because cars.

    Seriously this
    argument that if the private buses cannot have it all their way (and by
    extension presumably continue to expand their routes in an unregulated
    fashion), then cars are a reasonable outcome is really just childish

    Question, how many of the supposed 59% of private bus
    riders who claim they would use a car will actually follow through on
    that when 2+ hours commutes (driving, not typing away on work), nightly
    parking hassles, and fuel costs are all actually figured in to the

    Your op-ed does nothing but contribute to the
    political brinkmanship between to irrational extremes (those who want no
    buses at all, and the firms who want no functional regulation of their
    corporate perk). Well done. If you followed Tuesdays hearing you would
    have noted that a large group are seeking better regulation. The review is a tool to force the hand of those who due to politics (read tech money funding campaigns) are unwilling to follow through on legally obligated reviews.

    Regulation =/= Banning.

    guess it is safe to assume Google, G-tech, Facebook, Apple and the lot
    kicked down some money to keep the lights on at Streetsblog for the
    month, right?



    The protesters are jealous. If they spent as much time looking for a job as they do protesting they would have nothing to complain about. Google is giving their employees some perks and any company can do that. Google isn’t asking people to pay for the bus they are subsidizing it themselves. Stop whining.



    There was a gas station on Market Street a couple of blocks east of there until quite recently. Other than that there isn’t a gas station for a long way in any direction. Offhand I can only think of the two at Fell and Divis, one at 6th and Lincoln, and one at 16th and Guerrero.

    The Chevron at Fell and Masonic is no more, and at least half of the gas stations in the Mission have closed.



    is this really about buses versus cars, and do the answers lay there? Is it not more about the divide that is growing, and the growing two-tiered lives? Perhaps the issue is not buses but that they are private and exclusive, serving what has become an elite class. Could they be open to all? Do the tech companies also run buses for their lesser-paid contract workers to areas where they live? Could these companies, with their money and influence not work to help provide better transit for all – especially those who help create the more desirable places and charmed lives – the service workers of all sorts who enable a quality of life, those who build the new condos, those who drive buses, who work in the many lesser paid jobs that directly and indirectly support those in the tech industry? While more environmentally sustainable, they are a symbol and a reality of a shift that cannot be sustained.


    Russell Blank

    Ha… at first I thought this post was sincere, it was only when it got into full Onion territory that I realized this was brilliant parody.

    My favorite part is the last paragraph which begins with “I like most people don’t walk, I drive because I have places to be…” and finishes with the satirist stating “I walk all the time and these dangerous bicyclist almost ran me over 5 times.”




    Depends on which “burbs” you live in. It is not uncommon for people in Contra Costa country to drive 2+ hours a day to commute to San Jose. I have know quite a few people who drive even longer to get to work.



    Well said.

    However if these folks “get a car”, most of them would live out in the burbs, much closer to work. The SF-South Bay auto commute is grueling and you would have to really want to live in SF to subject yourself to 2+ hours a day driving. (Not to mention street parking in most hip neighborhoods is nearly impossible.) While I’m not against the shuttles, there’s no question they allow people to live in SF who otherwise couldn’t or wouldn’t.



    Richard has detailed his significant (and largely failed) efforts to do something about in in the past. Clearly his political skills are dwarfed by his technical ones.

    The very real and HUGE problems Richard periodically goes on about are not in question … and yet they persist … despite people like us who get it, know he’s right and are seemingly either unwilling, unable and/or powerless to do something about them.

    So when you take the time to point out his complaints are “useless” … what are you trying to accomplish? Discourage him and others from pointing out the big yet non-obvious-to-most elephant-in-the-room problems they can’t fix, or motivate others (besides you, I presume) to “do something” about them?

    Maybe, just maybe, one of these complaints will directly or indirectly come to the attention of someone (or enough people) who can effectuate some effective corrective actions.



    Check out this photo of the Twin Peaks tunnel in 1929, that location was already a Standard/Chevron station. I’m curious if there was *anything* located there before the gas station



    What is Richard doing about it other than complaining on a number of obscure blogs?

    This is not a technical problem. It’s a political problem. Someone fixated on the technical issues – useless.



    That’s what I think. Next time these jerks harass the bus, just get off, go home and get your car, pick up a few of your coworkers and drive to work. Don’t waste time with these idiots. If these protesters have any sense, go to the freeway and block cars. Don’t be cowards to harass buses.



    Richard is absolutely right about this — and a bunch of other things — and yet nobody with any pull or control over the situation seems to give a shit because lots of smart people don’t seem to know or care what to do about it either … so they just shrug their shoulders (and/or get annoyed at Richard for being a downer for repeatedly pointing it out). Useless? Shameful and sad is more like it.


    Dexter Wong

    You mean to say that no cares if the freeways are clogged with cars so long as there are no Google buses on the road? What if most of the tech companies move shop to Texas, would that make people feel better? Or would they complain about how bad things are in the Bay Area?



    There’s a tradeoff between capacity and speed. BART can run lots of trains on two tracks, but that’s because every train makes the same uniform stops. Obviously 10 slow local trains per hour are unlikely to attract many riders to SF, though I’d imagine ridership would be decent between SJ and RWC.


    Jym Dyer

    ≈ There was a problem with people being displaced during the dot-com tech bubble in the 1990s. One of the things that showed up at that time were posters by the “Mission Yuppie Eradication Project,” which advocated damaging fancy cars and SUVs. It really struck a nerve: being gunned down in the middle of a gang turf war was just an accepted risk of Mission life, but having one’s SUV vandalized was beyond the pale!

    This generation is less interested in cars, which is definitely an improvement.



    I totally agree that ridership suffers with longer trip times. The Baby Bullet trains are unchanged, and most O/D pair trip times have increased by at most two minutes. Reverse peak trains do have longer running times to SJ, but there is an argument to be made that the stations between RWC and SJ have much higher ridership potential and should be served more frequently. Mountain View, for instance, has double the ridership of SJ, and California Ave, served by one train per hour, has half of SJ’s ridership.

    Notably, I weight frequency more than trip times myself: with the advent of smartphones and increasingly worse traffic, I doubt increasing trip times by a couple of minutes will deter passengers away. In fact, giving more options and trying to redistribute loads may end up actually saving time by having the trains stop for less time.

    Obviously, the best plan going forth is the same as others have suggested: to build a 4-track segment from RWC to Hillsdale so that express trains can overtake local trains and everyone benefits, electrify trains to speed up running times, and build high-level platforms to lower station dwell times.



    Rather than fighting HSR, what we need is make it a better product. IF HSR can be priced reasonably for commuters to make the SJ to SF or Redwood City to SF trip, we could reduce the burden on Caltrain and make use of HSR capacity instead of duplicate service. But of course there are lots of IFs in there. In any case, it would be better to look at this holistically and realize what we need to do is increase capacity along the corridor or create alternatives like the HWY 101 median and start converting highway lanes to transit. [Or this would be hugely expensive, but start tunneling...]



    Trains 230 and 332 SB run at or near capacity. Train 134 runs mostly empty. Is this because the half hour later that train 134 arrives in a place like Palo Alto is the demarcation between on time and late?

    No, it’s because the ridership wants the fast train, no matter when it departs. Ridership spiked when the bullets came in. Caltrain’s corridor has a lot of underserved demand for *good* off peak service, at the very least in the shoulders of peak.



    I think you underestimate how many riders would abandon trains that go from 40 min, to 50 min to their destination….





    Every time I see one of these Google Bus articles i cringe… WHY the bus.. Would you have one of those buses or 30 private cars? Have we forgotten the cars and delivery trucks that block roads? Do you block out all the drivers that you are cursing at? People need to stop being “mode-blind” and see the bigger picture. And mass media needs to stop latching on and covering REAL news.






    I remember when there were two gas stations at Duboce & Market. These photos were taken in Sept. 1971. Not sure if it will show up in the first image, but the price board for the Standard station reads 29.9 cents per gallon. The era of cheap gasoline and usable cars for $100 or so, with no smog inspections, was one of the major factors in the decline of public transit in the 1946-1973 period.


    Andy Chow

    Almost all transit systems have peak ridership occurs during the peak hours, and that most transit systems provide more service during the peak hours.

    It is rather a policy decision not to spend limited subsidy on midday trains when Caltrain suffered a budget crunch a few years ago. I think we should revisit that decision again.

    In public policy planning, we make long term planning by basically predicting the future by using present situation/assumption and projecting out largely unchanged. However they’re almost always wrong so every bit of policy decisions can be questioned.

    At that time Caltrain almost decided to get rid of the Baby Bullets but we prevented that. If that happened then the ridership situation (especially for bikes) will be worse.