The Google Bus: “If you want an iPhone, a Facebook profile, and Google Maps, this is part of the price you’ve gotta pay”

That’s the opinion of one insufferable tech dude* interviewed for KALW’s Google Bus Show, which fortunately offers a far more balanced take (than the privileged notion quoted in the title) on the recent phenomenon that’s become a symbol of the gentrification and influx of wealth currently reshaping the city. It’s a good listen; folks from the neighborhood, city officials, and tech companies themselves all contribute different viewpoints to illustrate why the issues at hand might not be solved by simply banning the corporate shuttles from city streets.

*Of course, what insufferable tech bro fails to realize is that perhaps not everyone is interested in having an iPhone, Facebook profile, and Google maps. While I can’t speak for that segment of the population, as I have and get great use out of all three of those products every day, their needs have to be considered as well.

Listen here.

[Photo via Mission Local]

213 Responses to “The Google Bus: “If you want an iPhone, a Facebook profile, and Google Maps, this is part of the price you’ve gotta pay””

  1. Logician says:

    My god. So many logic fails, so little time.

    • one says:

      I live fine without any of that shit. So, no, I don’t care for the price of having Google buses.

      And as far as posting here? Our taxes paid for this. We paid for all of it. Private corporations get to profit.

  2. kittens says:

    That ^^^.

  3. Google Employee says:

    I approve of these buses.

    • skj says:

      Google should offer to buy the CCSF Mission Campus on Valencia. Or better yet, Facebook should buy it.
      Zuck can walk to work – the helicopter shuttle really annoys me.

  4. Greg says:

    FWIW, you’re talking about me, bro. Most folks that know me* would agree with your 4 second assessment: I’m pretty insufferable. In fact, I used to read Mission Mission on my iPhone during those shuttle trips, bro: thanks for making it. Sadly, I walk to work now, so I wait for my fellow **insufferable tech friends to share links to your articles now. Of the hour or so interview, that little pull quote is what made the edit. I challenge you to disagree with it.

    *I don’t believe we’ve met but I’m happy to grab a drink to talk about this issue, or any other interesting things, in person.

    ** We all are: it’s an accurate, gross generalization of your readership.

    • The Tens says:

      **That is an insufferable use of asterisks.

    • why can’t you guys just take caltrain like the rest of us?

      • Stop Whining says:

        Why is it your business how he gets to work?

        • if you listen to the show, you’ll learn that apparently these buses are causing problems for other city residents, as well as MUNI. if the people who take these corporate buses took caltrain down to the peninsula instead, these problems would have far less impact.

          • snook says:

            If they weren’t taking the buses, they’d be in cars. Lots of cars. Those cars would also create problems for Muni buses…

          • Stop Whining says:

            That’s a total red herring. This is about fear of gentrification. Nuisance factors are easily addressed, short of the wholesale BANNING the buses, and I suspect that these buses actually reduce city traffic.

          • Christine says:

            Here’s my morning, should I take CalTrain instead of a private bus:

            8:00 – Check NextMuni 40 minutes before CalTrain departure.
            8:00 – Cross fingers that there’s a bus coming within 20 minutes.
            8:10 – Phew, there is! Walk/run 10 minutes to the 47 Muni stop.
            8:15 – Take bus to 4th & King. Hope bus doesn’t get stuck in traffic.
            8:35 – Get off bus at 4th & King
            8:40 – Get on Caltrain. No places to sit. End up in a shitty cramped seat.
            8:50 – Be annoyed that there’s no WiFi and I can’t use my commute to get work done.
            9:40 – Get off Caltrain at Palo Alto station. Wait for private shuttle.
            9:45 – Get on private shuttle bus
            10:00 – Arrive at the office

            Compare that to my current commute:

            8:15 – Casually ride my bike to Dolores Park
            8:25 – Get a coffee and bagel at Dolores Park Cafe
            8:30 – Get on bus
            9:15 – Arrive at the office

            I’ve done both, and CalTrain is just not an option. Sorry, but if we didn’t have the private buses, I would just use my six figure salary to buy a car, and everyone would be worse off.

          • tuffy says:

            Or you could live closer to your job. Here’s my commute:

            2:45 Ride my bike
            2:55 Open Bar

          • Matt says:

            Christine, you’ve constructed quite the neat list there. But why do you work at a job that makes you do unwaged labor during your commute? That sounds like the worst.

          • ALWAYS HIGH says:

            8:30 – Get on bus
            9:15 – Arrive at the office


          • Christine says:

            Thanks Tuffy, I know. I used to live 5 minutes away from my job, but then seeing as I’ve got like $70k in student debt from going to school in SF, and rent here is really going through the roof, I decided to take a job that would both look great on my resume and pay really well. You win some, you lose some!

          • tuffy says:

            Christine, I bet you could save even more money if you moved to the peninsula. I hear rents are not sky-rocketing there and you can pay that debt down even faster!

          • mushmouth says:

            Tuffy if you get rid of Christine, who the eff is going to leave you tips?

          • Christine says:

            I’ve been living in the city for 5 years, so thanks but no thanks! I’m very happy here, and would never want to trade my tiny railroad apartment for a suburban house or giant apartment complex in Redwood City. Then I’d really have to get a car, gross.

            I know you all hate me on default because I ride a bus to work now, but I like to think the community benefits from me having some cash now. I pay enough rent for my landlord to be able to afford constant maintenance, keeping our 113 year old building beautiful (seeing as the guy below me pays <$1k for his 2br, I'd guess my money makes a difference). I planted plants in the planters outside our building, and I file reports with 311 every time couches, mattresses and tents end up on our block (which is every week).

            Happy to take opinions for anything else I can do to contribute, as long as the answer isn't "move to Redwood City," because that ain't happening. I love my block, despite it being home to strange smells and homeless encampments, and I'm not going anywhere.

          • Small Business Owner says:

            Thank you, Christine. We appreciate your hard work and contributions to the neighborhood.

          • tuffy says:

            Mushmouth, Pop’s is rarely frequented by the White Bus crowd. Plus, they are notoriously bad tippers. Tickle down economics still doesn’t work.

          • tuffy says:

            errr… trickle down. please don’t tickle me.

          • Christine says:

            Tuffy, I love Pop’s! I live on 15th street, so I don’t frequent it often, but I’ll make sure to say hi next time around. I’m a pretty generous tipper at Benders, Homestead and Mission Saloon, though.

          • Not special says:

            I think you all are being unfair to Christine. She is special.

            We all need to not only accept the buses that allow her to externalize the cost of her choice to live a considerable distance from her work, but embrace it with a genuine smile and honest heartfelt thank you.

            We need to realize that Christine is paying off her loans more slowly to live in SF as a personal sacrifice for us. She would buy a car to drive in lieu of the buses for us. Christine in the last 5 years has made herself irreplaceable to the community, unlike anyone who lived here before her, for us.

            For the sake of the Mission, and SF as a whole, quit with your selfish behavior. Thank Christine for her immense sacrifice to this city, now. Without her and her six figure salary, we would all be poorer, living in a culturally devoid dump, and with buildings in a constant state of disrepair.

            Show Christine some reverence you ingrates.

          • Christine says:

            What a great sarcastic reply, thanks for contributing to conversation! I certainly don’t feel entitled to thanks, and I frankly don’t give a shit what you think about my presence in the neighborhood. I moved here for myself, and I’m trying to make my block pretty for entirely selfish reasons. But hopefully a clean sidewalk with plants benefits my latino neighbors too!

            However, I’m staying here whether you like it or not. :) You might as well try to see me as a human being with good intentions, instead of assuming everyone that rides buses are “tech douchebags.” Stereotyping people is just gonna bring us further apart.

            A year ago I was a broke-ass student getting by on burritos and PBR. Fuck, I’m still getting by on burritos and PBR, I just have some disposable income now. We’re not as different as you think.

          • Halftime Break says:

            “Well, Kent, they’ve really taken the troll bait in this thread.”

            “Yes they have, Jamal. You can tell from the set up that ‘Christine’ is all about the LULZ. With her fake schedule and casual ‘six figure salary’ line in her first post, she set her trap.”

            “She sure did, Kent, she sure did. MissionMission readers were just waiting to hate on a Yuppie as soon as they read the title of this post and they got exactly what they wanted. They were forced to imagine a Marina transplant’s resume while also contemplating the time a friend of a friend thought they might have a job connection at Facebook in 2007. You have to hand it to ‘Christine,’ she knows what she’s doing.”

            “Still, Jamal, she’s made some errors. Even disgruntled Mission residents won’t actually believe someone who graduated from college in San Francisco can make six figures after one year in the tech industry.”

            “You may be right, Kent, but only time will tell. Let’s check back in on the second half of this exciting and competitive blog discussion.”

          • dr says:

            ignore these losers, christine. san francisco is infested with them. long past their prime. stuck in the past.

          • Christine says:

            Sorry Halftime Break, it’s all true! I’d link to my resume if it wasn’t for the fact that I really don’t want a bunch of angry hipsters showing up at my door.

            And guess what, we’re hiring! There’s plenty more six figure salaries to be had, but they’re gonna go to transplants unless some locals start applying.

          • Not special says:

            Christine, thank you for putting words in my mouth. I never used the term “tech douchebags” in my post, and relied on no stereotypes to make my point.

            I am calling you out on your self entitled view that you, by your mere presence, contribute more to the community and that the community needs to make sacrifices to keep you here and happy.

            Your attitude is the problem, not your employer, and not your industry. It just so happens that more people with your attitude are moving here as they gain employment with certain companies within an industry.

            Almost all of my friends are “tech douchebags”. Except that they understand what it means to move into an established community, and they contribute to it positively without bullshit demands that it bend over backward to accommodate their choice to live far from where they work.

            They also don’t act like 5 years is equivalent to generations, or that paying higher rents is some form of civic charity.

            But hey, who am I but a stereotypical “techie hater” right?

          • Christine says:

            Not special, now you’re the one putting words in my mouth. “Tech douchebags” wasn’t used in your particular comment, but it incapsulates the general feelings among most commenters here.

            What, exactly, did I say to indicate that I don’t have any idea what it’s like to move into an existing community? I’d love to be enlightened so that I can change my behavior. I certainly don’t see my presence as a blessing to the neighborhood, but neither do I think I’ve had negative impact — beyond occupying an apartment unit, which is apparently a crime if you’re white or make over $50k a year.

            And no, I don’t think 5 years is a long time. Honestly, it feels like yesterday I moved here. But lets be honest here — 5 years is probably about the same, or maybe even longer than most commenters here.

          • Leary says:

            The city’s total failure over the past decade or so to keep up a public transit system that actually accommodated the local economy’s needs is causing problems for a lot of city residents.

            That’s the reason these shuttles came about in the first place. Caltrain couldn’t handle the load, and it certainly couldn’t do it efficiently. It would add nearly an hour to the commute of tens of thousands of people. (And you’d just be complaining about those horrible, insufferable techbros making Caltrain unbearable instead.)

          • Boob Police says:

            2 Culture Sportscasters, is that you?

          • New San Franciscan says:

            I just moved here from New York. This thread is hilarious.

            I make a six figure salary in the tech industry, but I wouldn’t take a job in the valley purely because of the transit problem. I live in nob hill and work downtown–15 minute walk, 5 minute ride. Problem solved.

        • troll says:

          Tuffy: I’m not sure which planet you live on that indicates rents are much better in communities near the tech hubs of the Peninsula, but please take me on your spaceship.

      • troll says:

        Pretty sure he said he walks to work, you know, zero emissions (besides out of his ass).

      • Ben says:

        There’s a good discussion to be had here. I hate the status quo, but before you can have any hope of changing things it’s essential to come to an understanding of why things are the way they are. So let’s get a list started. I’m sure there’s a ton more but here’s some stuff that came to mind.

        Outside of its major cities, the bay area has been dominated by the same car-dependent suburban development model as the rest of the country.

        Many of the larger/older tech companies (and office space in general) built their headquarters in the suburbs at a time when there wasn’t as much interest in walkable urbanism, and interest in development near transit was an afterthought at best – cheap land for parking was a much higher priority.

        The desire to preserve SF’s character in the 70s led to policies that aimed to protect long-term residents, partially by shifting their costs onto newer residents and partially by making it difficult and/or expensive to build anything new. Office space, housing, you name it.

        The entire bay area is filled with NIMBYism backed by laws that give them teeth, making it incredibly hard to change anything especially if it spans several municipalities.

        Research shows that after door-to-door commute time exceeds an hour or if more than two transit connections are required, most people who have the option of driving a private vehicle will do so. Getting to a Caltrain station in SF alone is enough to cross that threshold for some parts of town, and then you have the same problem getting to your workplace once you’ve arrived south. Questions of funding and NIMBYism make it incredibly difficult by comparison to expand *fast* public transit like BART, Caltrain, or the underground portions of Muni’s light rail.

        The shuttles are a replacement for private point-to-point auto use, not general purpose public transit.

        Convenient pickup locations for private shuttles that take you directly to work completely solve that problem.

        If the needs of their employees change, a company has a lot more flexibility with private shuttles vs. public transit.

        Can’t work on secret stuff or participate in conference calls about secret stuff in a public place.

        • Greg says:

          :: applause

        • Old Mission Neighbor says:

          Great post.
          Kudos to you and Christine for positive and factual contributions to this conversation that aren’t filled with ridiculous platitudes (looking at you, “Not Special”)

          Anyway, carry on.

  5. Stop Whining says:

    What does your use of a product (or lack thereof) have to do with anything? The question is whether it’s okay to tell people where they can live and how they can get to work. In this case, I think it’s not okay. The city needs more housing, until it gets more housing it’s going to be super competitive. Sorry, it’s just a fact. Whining about buses is stupid. And if you don’t like change, city living is not for you.

    • Matt says:

      Riiiiiiight. Cause the it’s not like the rural doesn’t get re-ordered to accommodate the needs of the urban or anything. Let’s all just roll and accept our true overlords: Change! Any Change is Good Change! As Long As Things Change, All Is Well In The Universe!

    • m says:

      Big difference between inevitable city progression (if you want to look at it that way) and having gigantic commuter bus eyesores taking up city space and packing in Facebook fanatics to drive them to their compound 40 miles south.

  6. Greg says:

    The actual quote is ”If you want to have an iPhone, and you want to have a Facebook account, or if you want to use Google Maps, this is part of the price you’re going to pay is you’re going to have to see these big shuttles going through your town.’

    • karl says:

      How is having people live outside the town they work in “a price you’re going to pay?” So having new technology around the world means SF in particular has to be full of boring people? Must have missed that meeting. I miss when this place attracted mostly people who wanted to interact with local culture, not people who wanted to interact with local money. Bummer.

      • Not special says:

        I think you are overlooking the sacrifice these employees make on our behalf. If it weren’t for them our city would suck, like it always did in the past. Our bars and eateries would be empty as they always were before the great buses, phones and apps. We could possibly still have a hardware store on Valencia, if it weren’t for the sacrifice of those who commute by corporate bus.

        These “boring people” are bringing salvation to our city by pushing out all the undesirables and undeserving. They are doing this for us.

        Do you really want Mountain View to receive all of this benevolence, and charity?

        I think you weren’t invited to the meeting because you wear how ingrateful you are on your sleeve.

        • troll says:

          Haha, I’m sure you have many friends if this is how you tackle discourse. You sir/madam surely are not special. You’re doing your cause a disservice.

        • Ben says:

          You must be pretty confused if your reading on the situation is that *tech workers* are the ones playing the martyr here.

  7. Andy says:

    “If you want to drive cars and burn oil, you have to deal with toxic pollutants in the air water and everywhere!!!”

    ^ same argument, but no one would argue with the outrage that would erupt if someone from BP said that.

  8. skj says:

    no one likes these buses. google/apple/facebook need to build major campuses in san francisco.

    • Matt says:

      oh god no! google/apple/facebook needs to build gulag..I mean dorms for their employees around their campuses. Keep the nerds away from us bohemians I say!

      • skj says:

        they can build a set of towers in the soon-to-be-former candlestick park. also, they can add a rail system that leads directly from valencia.

        no more buses. everyone will be happy. lol.

    • TJ says:

      Disagree. I don’t work for any of those companies but I far prefer having those buses available for their commuters as opposed to having most of them wind up in cars. It eases traffic, eases the parking burden (many of these employees don’t need to own cars as a result of the buses), and doesn’t do anything to affect me negatively other than sometimes having to wait behind a bus as I ride my bike down Valencia.

      • m says:

        This is a legitimate thought, not sarcasm – but I wonder how many of these employees would move to the south bay to avoid the horrible traffic commute if there were no bus options. Yes, they’d clearly have to buy cars, but would they move south to avoid a) horrible parking and b) an even worse commute? Like, the tech-bros I see on Valencia – is there anything about San Francisco in particular that really drew them here other than work?

        I’m sure this has been discussed beyond the point of interest so many times before…but I’ve always wondered. I’m sure there are plenty of tech employees who truly do enjoy the city’s culture. But, at least in my experience, many of them seem to be here simply because “they can”. I know no one needs a real reason to be anywhere, but if the city really doesn’t mean that much to you, why pay $2,400 a month for a 1-bedroom?

        This post is not directed at Greg, or anyone in particular, just a general thought. I am friends with literally 0 tech workers in real life, but work in the financial district and have encountered a few at work-related happy hours – they all have seemed really indifferent about living here, yet are fine paying 4x what I pay in rent and not really accumulating much savings in their bank account despite their insane salaries.

        • Greg says:

          There are a lot of tech folks that are either very young, or new to this country, or both that are clueless about respecting the opportunities that they have been handed. It’s not uncommon for me to apologize for their behavior (the latest being at the car rental place) after being told of their ridiculous expectations.

          Having said that, if a landlord wants to charge an exorbitant amount of money for their unit just because the market lets them, why isn’t there more anger directed towards them for letting the neighborhood change?

        • Old Mission Neighbor says:

          If the buses didn’t exist, more of the people who work in the peninsula would work for the tech companies that are based in SF, like Twitter, Square, Uber, Airbnb, Salesforce, etc.

          The reason why Google, Apple, Facebook, etc. have these tech buses is because they need them to compete for the young professionals who care first about where they live and second about where they work. The Mission wouldn’t be any different. Everyone would just take BART to Montgomery/Powell/Civic instead of the shuttle to Palo Alto, Mountain View, Cupertino.

          The shuttles are just a red herring because they’re visible. Their actual impact on the neighborhood isn’t that huge at this point.

        • TJ says:

          The truth is that the peninsula is also very expensive, and at the end of the day you live on the peninsula. A lot of people look at their options, find that for a little more $ and additional commute time they can at least live in a place they enjoy, and decide to move to SF. It’s probably true that the convenience of these buses moves the decision point a little further in favor of choosing the city (although there are also buses that come in from all over the BA).

        • Leary says:

          “But, at least in my experience, many of them seem to be here simply because “they can” … I am friends with literally 0 tech workers in real life,”

          Ah. Clearly, that’s a lot of “experience” you’re drawing from there.

          • m says:

            I clarified my run-ins with tech workers are strictly limited to awkward conversations at work happy hours. Thank you for feeling the need to point out that my incredibly apparent generalization was in fact a generalization.

    • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

      Sounds good to me. Just so long as they don’t get stupid tax breaks like twitter did.

    • Christine says:

      There’s not even room for fucking new apartment buildings in this city, you really think there’s a chance you could get something like this behemoth within the 7×7 city borders? Even if we build up, NIMBYism would easily make it impossible for Google to build any building that fits their 30,000 employees.

  9. tuffy says:

    It’s a pretty specious argument.

    That’s NOT the price we have to pay if we want those services/products.

    That’s the price we pay because people who work for those companies want to live in San Francisco and are willing to have ridiculous commute times and those companies want all of the tax breaks and other perks of being located not in the city.

    • m says:

      Basically this. People making hour+ commutes, 2 ways, to reap the benefits of the great city of San Francisco, such as BetaBrand clothing, FSC Barbershop, and Outside Lands music festival. All things that make this city truly great and incomparable to slums like Palo Alto and Mountain View. I mean, do those places even HAVE recognizable neighborhood names?

      • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

        Did you just describe that crappy yupster barbershop as a BENEFIT of living in SF? That’s hilarious. I hope you were being sarcastic.

        • m says:

          I really hope only you had trouble picking up on the sarcasm in that post. All 3 of the things I mentioned attract the worst this city has to offer.

          • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

            Thank god. I really wanted to read it as sarcasm, but you gotta remember that this blog is also full of commenters who actually love those things.

    • Greg says:

      My taxes get paid to my Mission address/the city, and my income also supports bars, restaurants, and a landlord’s mortgage and property taxes. I donated my car to the SPCA after my move to San Francisco. My commute since June is walking and biking.

  10. Matt says:

    But I don’t want an iPhone or a facebook profile (but maybe, just maybe, do I want google maps). Why do I have to pay the price? Why does the cost have to be externalized out onto me?

    • karl says:

      Because fuck you, that’s why. Love, the tech industry.

    • umm says:

      yes having to tolerate other human beings living in your neighborhood is such a heavy burden. it’s too bad none of you were around when living in the mission meant living nextdoor to gangbangers who would rob you when you stepped out of the liquor store.

  11. m says:

    Is there anyone who would really miss Facebook and Google tracking? I mean, really…?

    Also, legit lol @ – “that little pull quote is what made the edit. I challenge you to disagree with it.”

    I hope this dude is in his impressionable, personality-lacking, very early 20s, otherwise….ugh.

    • Old Mission Neighbor says:

      “Is there anyone who would really miss Facebook and Google tracking? I mean, really…?”

      Yes, I’m confident that at least 1 person would. Do you want to refine your question?

    • Greg says:

      I’m 40, m. I’m from Pittsburgh. I lived in Brooklyn for 10 years as a musician, bartender, a freelance journalist, and print designer (among other things). I was on unemployment for 2 years and pieced it together. Facebook hired me, and I moved to the Mission, at 36.

  12. Greg says:

    There’s a lot of my original interview missing from the KALW edit. There’s a good chance that one of these companies whose shuttles are so disruptive are also most likely to help solve the actual issue of them.

    Put that in your medical marijuana pipe and smoke it.

    • Ginny says:

      I think the thing that I find so obnoxious about the Silicon Valley is that they earnestly think they are ~changing the world~ with their apps, social networks, and disposable technology. And that somehow makes all of the displacement happening in San Francisco okay.

      • m says:

        Let’s be honest, how dated would we feel if the only informal hook-up options these days were still madradhair, onlyundiesclub, or, even worse, maximum rock n roll personals? 22nd generation coattail-riders of Friendster truly ARE revolutionizing the way we live, one phone program at a time.

        • Ginny says:

          Oh my god, I totally forgot about Madradhair. Also, Makeoutclub, Lipstickandcigarettes, and Okay, I guess you have a point.

          • m says:

            Hah yes. Longtime poster at BCO. Though I will never reveal my user name. I now lurk VLV and post solely in the Bay Area threads.

      • Greg says:

        If you put this comment on a post-it and mailed it, I might see your point.

  13. that can't be serious says:

    I am certain people in Lampedusa would laugh at this debate.

    Rich suburban wasteland refugees landing on our shores? Bring them on!

  14. Greg says:

    So who’s meeting me at Pop’s at 6:30pm to continue this discussion?

  15. scum says:

    I must be in a timewarp, I bought a newspaper today and said hello to a complete strangers.

    • troll says:

      It’s just the post-BART strike afterglow. Don’t worry, I trust you won’t make eye contact with anyone tomorrow.

  16. ProblemSolver says:

    Can we just move the busses off of Valencia?? All the city buses were moved off of Valencia. Valencia does not need richster buses.

    • The Facebook shuttle shares a bus stop with MUNI bus on Valencia. In fact, I believe all the Facebook shuttles utilize MUNI stops now to help with some of the issue.

      • Christine says:

        But in all fairness the buses do drive down Valencia from 18th to 24th, which no Muni buses do. I think moving them away from Valencia is a great idea, since Valencia is such a major thoroughfare for bicyclists as well. But running them on Mission Street would be a congested nightmare. I wonder if Guerrero or S Van Ness would be better options?

      • ProblemSolver says:

        If I’m not mistaken, most bus routes were moved off of Valencia to beautify the street. Not sure what company it is, but I run into a ton of tech buses driving on Valencia. Just doesn’t make sense to have that a route for any bus. It’s a pedestrian / bicycle haven of a street and if we care about the mission, we should keep it that way. I have written to the mayor to keep all buses (city or tech) off of Valencia, hopefully more people will write to Mayor Lee as well.

  17. David HassleHough says:

    I got 99 problems but a bus ain’t one.

  18. Leary says:

    I live in SF. I take a tech shuttle. I’m nice to my neighbors, pay the rent that the market demanded of me, keep my place up, pay my taxes, behave myself in public, contribute money, stay engaged in local affairs, and contribute money and occasionally time to local education nonprofits. I do my best to be a good citizen.

    And I’ve got just as much right to live here as you do. The South Bay isn’t cheaper, and it’s definitely more miserable. I take the shuttle because you and I will both be happier if me and my coworkers don’t have to drive every day, filling the streets with our cars. (Want to see heavy use of public space?)

    And if you think I should leave your city because my job title just isn’t cool enough for your approval, well, tough. It’s my city too.

    • Leary says:

      And for the record, I would cheerfully support and take a public transit option to the South Bay that wasn’t so laborious as to be totally impractical. Over my several years here, it’s become clear that we will likely colonize outer space before that is in place.

  19. umm says:

    man, all the cool kids who moved here to be cool and get away from the nerds they picked on in high school are watching the nerds move into their town.

    it must be insufferable to have the people you made fun find themselves of in such a position of advantage because they were off being nerds and getting advanced degrees while you put in all those hours being cool and that entitles you to decide who gets to live here and who doesn’t.

  20. JimRichardson says:

    Google should just buy BART and extend it to their campus. Seriously though, BART should go all the way to SJ; it’s been needed and wanted for the last 30+ years. Oh but we’re caltrain and we own that route WWWWAAAA!!!

  21. Bob Dole says:

    I hope all you f*cks stay in SF. I live in DC. (that’s Daly City for you carpet baggers). Last thing I need is some tech douche driving up the values (on top of all the mainland chinese) and seeing a google bus round the corner on my block.

    I got nothing against white people either btw. Just tech douches. Fight for these overpriced condos and apts amongst yourselves.

  22. Floyd says:

    If they’re going to ship their workers up here, I wish Google & Facebook would teach taqueria, bar, & cafe etiquette as part of their on-boarding.

    Don’t reach over the sneeze guard to point at the guacamole. It’s guacamole. They know it by name.

    Don’t wave your $20 to get the bartender’s attention & have your full order ready when they get to you.

    And get off your fricking phone when you’re in the fricking cafe, you self-absorbed ass.

    • troll says:

      You’re just mad at young people in general. They may not all be techies, but they’re mostly fucksticks, yes.

  23. gw bush says:

    the upside to all the squares in this neighborhood is that i don’t have to work very hard to be ~interesting~ anymore

    • gw bush says:

      naw but really doe just to keep hitting it from the snob side; a huge issue is that so many people will all the cash right now have such awful taste. maybe when this generation of elites gets over their painfully bourgeois middle-brow dork kitsch we can get along with bay area culture again.

  24. Andy says:

    This is from yesterday?
    I witnessed this very same event happen at the same spot exact two years ago with a Google bus.

  25. Fuck Techies says:

    I’d like to see pelt these buses and jerks with tomatoes.

  26. truth says:

    the irony of course is that most of the people railing against the tech workers are also young middle-to-upper class transplants. they somehow feel superior or more entitled because they contribute to the ‘culture’ of the neighborhood by playing in some shitty band no one listens to or trying to sell their ‘art’ in cafes. the real reason they have so much ire for these newer transplants is because it makes them take a long hard look in the mirror. there’s a whole lot of pot and kettle going on here.

    • m says:

      There is some truth to this, but I don’t think it’s as simple and superficial as music and art. A lot of transplants (myself included) made the move to SF because of what the city represented to them at the time (‘historically’ would be more accurate, i guess)…no matter how far from the truth the reality of the city was upon their arrival. I’ve always tried to support places I thought made the city special and different – some of those places are still open, some have closed their doors.

      Without going into too much detail, seeing as this post has well over 100 comments, I think the big divide here is the perception of what San Francisco “used to be” / “should be” versus the influx of tech companies coming in and turning it into “just another major city” one neighborhood at a time. I know change is inevitable in any large city but SF is a special place to a lot of people, regardless of their roots, and not just another Chicago, NYC, or what have you. This is not limited to a “me / my / I” post – seeing families forced out of their homes is the last thing any of us who have even the slightest feeling toward this city want to see (the fact that 22 year old kids who create phone games are part of the reason for this just makes it worse). That’s the larger part of the problem; the general sense of ownership a lot of young tech workers seem to have simply because they’re paying $2,000 a month for a bedroom off of Valencia or SOMA or wherever. It’s like the entire Valencia strip is one giant cast of the Real World. I’ve seen so many dirty looks given from young adults to people and places on Mission St…it’s ridiculous.

      Lastly, I don’t think the tech worker influx makes any of us “take a look in the mirror”. I don’t think the comparison is that cut and dry or even remotely accurate.

      • Old Mission Neighbor says:

        “Just another Chicago, NYC, or what have you”

        I think the residents of those cities would say that they are special, and not “Just another” anything. SF is not anymore special than NYC. It’s just different. And NYC is different from SF.

    • renn says:

      And most of the transplants won’t even be living here in 5 years. The city of SF is constantly flushing the toilet.

  27. Emo says:

    Simmer down, people. Jeez. It’s better to have tech buses than a bunch of individual cars. And yes, the crazy rents are frustrating, but the techies are here to stay.
    Techies, some of your friends act like douchebags in public. Call them out and school them, they’re giving you a bad reputation.
    But really, all this anger is about how all of you dress. My gawd, that hoodie/flip-flop look is tired. Put on a shirt with a collar, and wear a belt, for fucks sake, and shoes with some goddmaned motherfucking laces! I hate the way you all dress! I hate it!
    And welcome to San Francisco

  28. Sami says:

    AMEN to everything everyone has said! And another thing: isn’t it annoying how all the jobs manufacturing these tech products are going to Chinese people with their tower block apartments built so conveniently close to their workplaces? I hear some of them even have basketball courts!

  29. see_me_at_me says:

    Money and struggle. This is what it all comes down to. most everybody in SF is a transplant. people are frustrated because they work hard for what nickels and dimes they can pocket and they did so for years while a recent influx of young people who make A LOT of money are right next to them. The folks in tech who make A LOT of money just dont realize how it looks to the outside world.

    this is kind of like how Louis C.K. would wish white people would just admit that its amazing being white.

    Just come to a grip with how great it is to have made the right choices at the right time and worked hard to get what you deserve.

    LOTS of people work very hard and get nothing at all.

    SOME people work very hard and get lots more.

    its the lack of awareness thats fucking it up for long term residents.

    at the heart of it, long term residents are mad at the G-word (gentri….), residents are upset that they are now playing with expired currency.

  30. Joe says:

    I’ve often wondered why the companies that provide all of the buses to the Peninsula didn’t think to pool their resources to provide public bus service. That way everyone could take advantage of quick transport and alleviate the threat of additional cars clogging already congested freeways.

    • troll says:

      You have? Well, besides the money involved, they would rather have their employees on those shuttles using a secured network in a more “private’ setting. But more than anything they really shouldn’t have to provide public trans. Driverless bus would probably as (if not more) effective than MUNI.

    • Ben says:

      Check earlier in the thread – I wrote up a fairly comprehensive list of factors contributing to the current state of things.

  31. Joe says:

    Why shouldn’t they provide public transit? They’re using public streets and highways not to mention using Muni designated bus stops to load passengers..

    • troll says:

      They shouldn’t use those MUNI stops, that’s for sure. The rest of your “points” are ridiculous. Give me a lift home on your bike/car, since you use a public road. You must’ve meant pubic streets and highways, right?

    • JohnnyL says:

      Right… so every car should be open to car pooling! Nice argument.

  32. Ummm... says:

    …what about bus depots? Just a thought. Place them strategically (the nearer to 280 & 101 the better) in areas that wouldn’t piss too many people off. Provide secure bike storage onsite, sell some coffee, free wi-fi maybe. Maybe put in a pub for happy hour after the return trip. Just sayin…

  33. Since B4U says:

    The system is still just a raped ass.

    -Anti Cimex

  34. ts says:

    Tech people. If you’re so smart, about the ‘marketplace’, you would
    know it is ALL propped up by the Fed’s QE. That the govt is propping up
    the inflated stock prices, the VC etc.
    Half of you will be out of work in one or two years.
    Unless you are actually making programs and apps that work with businesses
    and don’t get the cull, when the crash happens, unless you actually are one
    of three when the cull happens, you better learn to be a ‘worker’ and not a consumer. It’s still a Casino. And like the republicans, the top democrats are ensuring a big crash.
    go to A site by financial experts ‘outside’ the bullshit.

  35. Blablabla says:

    Hands up who isn’t white in this thread.

    • ts says:

      what does that matter? half the white people in the USA are on the bottom.
      who the hell you think gets the most food stamps etc? GENTRY fi cation is class. Are whites fucking some green people in Barcelona? Are whites causing massive austerity in Greece against Latinos? Who is pushing
      out what color in london, outside the immigrant hoods that burned?

  36. mike says:

    man, right when this blog starts getting cold a post like this flares up and i start checking every day.

  37. Greg says:

    So happy Andrew ran this little article with my misquoted yet completely out of context sentence to spur such traffic to this site!

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this thread, it’s that everybody is owed something when their turf is being appropriated, so Andrew, when are you taking me out for a beverage for helping give you all this traffic?

    • troll says:

      Judging by the baiting title of this article and the fact that you aren’t an actual bus (or Google rider), I think he may owe you a case.

    • Sorry buddy, this traffic is small fry compared to Emoji man giving the finger and jacking off onto emoji woman’s face and tits. And don’t even get me started on ‘Naked, spitting, pissing dude’ shuts down 16th Street BART.

      Anyway, the quote may have been taken out of context, but blame KALW for that, as they chose to use it in their intro. And the only reason it was “misquoted” is because I didn’t want a grammatically incorrect title. Nonetheless, I fail to see how adding “…is you’re going to have to see these big shuttles going through your town” would have changed the meaning of the quote at all. Isn’t that part tacitly obvious from the title? Where else would the buses be going?

      And perhaps you’re not a totally insufferable individual, but please be honest. That was a ridiculously insufferable thing to say. Like, “Well, this is just the way it is, and you all are just going to have to deal with it, kthanxbai.”

      In fact, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are other ways to transport workers down to the peninsula (cough, Caltrain). Sure, they may not be as convenient, but everyone else deals with those inconveniences every day, and we all survive and produce great things.

      Do you seriously expect to not suffer any commuting inconveniences? Especially when your method of commuting inconveniences others???

      THAT, Greg, is insufferable.

      PS. Don’t reply that you currently walk to work, so you’re exempt. You used to ride that bus, and your ilk continues to.

      • j says:

        inconveniences the envy of others.

      • heyballsack says:

        This may be the greatest thing you’ve ever written on this site.

      • Greg says:

        I’d be curious to hear the displacement discussions when the BART was build, the properties it took with it, the inconveniences it caused, etc. I’d say the same for all these ugly electric lines, and trolly cars. Living in NYC for a decade prior to moving to SF, many friends were evicted or displaced for the 2nd Avenue subway, the new post-9/11 money, and the rapid moneying of NYC. (Also cut from the interview)

        Shipping workers to a job location is nothing new. My grandparents helped build the railroad structures of the eastern seaboard and were bused. The produce you eat is probably picked by people that were transported by their company to their location. The entire infrastructure of this country was built by people shipped here mostly on boats from other countries.

        The fact is these ‘insufferable’ companies are taking cars off the road like any other bus or mass transport. It’s designed to create efficiency. How is that a bad thing? The companies are easy targets for a much larger conversation: it’s pretty funny to bitch about technology companies using their technologies, ain’t it? And if you think the CalTrain is the answer, I encourage you to check a map to see where these headquarters are located.

        ‘Your ilk’ and ‘insufferable tech bro’ aren’t phrases that inspire honest dialog which is what I had for 45 minutes with the producer of the program. So, although the 160+ comments here aren’t a record, you’ve done a fantastic job of driving traffic (without a bus!) to your blog.

        The truth is there’s a lot of assholes, and a lot of anger, and a lot of people that somehow feel better about themselves by spouting off some pixels. I’ll take a company with an open dialog (all of these companies actually have teams dedicated to minimizing their impact on the community, finding efficiencies, etc) over some internet bitchery any day.

        No one came to Pop’s on Tuesday. Too bad.

        • troll says:

          I was there. I just followed you home and took notes though.

        • karl says:

          you’re a rich 40-year old going to a bar popular for dollar cans of beer, while trying to engage 20-somethings from the internet about how they just don’t understand the issues like you do.

          you honestly can’t see why people would find you insufferable?

          • Greg says:

            I honestly don’t care what anyone thinks. I just question whether they think at all. Yeah I’m rich enough to spend money at a bar and have a strong wifi signal. Pops doesn’t have $1 cans unless its a special you get, Karl.

        • troll says:

          For an area that prides itself on diversity/acceptance of others, Karl’s comment sure is interesting. How do you know the ages of all the anonymous haters on here?

        • heyballsack says:

          The companies aren’t simply “taking cars off the road.” They’re placing their corporate campuses in locations where rent is cheap, where there are local tax breaks, and, unfortunately, where many of their employees don’t want to live. This isn’t about people immigrating (which is a ridiculous comparison as immigrants didn’t commute from other countries), it’s about the externalities imposed on San Francisco by these private busing schemes and the accompanying lack of accountability to the public.

          You can’t seriously argue that public mass transit is the same as a Google bus. While public mass transit is disruptive to some, it is put in place to benefit of everyone and is generally accessible to everyone. The tech buses don’t work in the public interest, they work in the private interest of companies and employees. The disruption they create lead to externalities that individuals in San Francisco are having to deal with without any of the benefits. “But there are fewer cars,” I’m sure you’ll respond. Well, there may be fewer people commuting by car (although I’ve yet to see an actual study that suggests this), but that doesn’t mean the buses are better when it comes to the externalities that San Francisco itself has to deal with. Commuters on 101 and 280 don’t impact San Francisco pedestrians, mass transit users and bikers like the buses do.

          The private buses have also externalized the impact of a private mass transit system in the way of higher housing prices. Unlike public transit, which is designed and implemented by publicly elected officials, the buses have no public oversight, so their impact on communities cannot be mediated by the public.

          Finally, whether or not the externalities of tech buses are desirable has nothing to do with how we’re having this communication. Ad hominems, especially ones so obvious, detract from your perspective and will cause many people to instantly stop “hearing” what you are trying to say.

          • Christine says:

            “They’re placing their corporate campuses in locations where rent is cheap”

            This is just completely untrue. Take a look at the rental prices in Mountain View, Cupertino and Palo Alto, where these companies are located — I can assure you that they are just about equal to San Francisco’s rental prices.

            The land might be cheaper to purchase, if only because there are no giant empty land in San Francisco the same way as there is on the peninsula, simply because of density. You really think Apple could fit their 2.8 million square feet headquarters within our 7×7 city?

            Personally I would much rather have 10 buses a day* (5 in the morning, 5 at night) go through my neighborhood, than the 500 employees they transport each driving (and parking) their own cars in the Mission. You may not be affected by the traffic on 101, but you are affected by all these cars making their way to the freeway onramp, and then being parked on the streets at night.

            Are you as fervently opposed to Casino/Chinatown buses too, or does your protest only apply to buses serving hardworking, highly educated folks contributing to the local economy?

            * Number are for my company only, so I guess multiply by 5 to get an approximate number for all the bus-operating tech companies

          • heyballsack says:

            You completely ignore the actual issue – the externalities created by the busing schemes. There’s simply no data to back up your claims about cars, but there is a lot of data about how busing has impacted SF. If casino busing had serious externalities, like the tech busing does, people would be up in arms about them, too.

            You need to get off your martyr’s high horse. Busing is done by big corporations that do just us much harm as they do good. They’re used to shunting externalities to other parts of the world via labor practices, production models and the ways they earn revenue. You’re not doing anyone but yourself a favor by working at one of these companies, so stop acting like you’re such a huge benefit to the SF or world community.

          • troll says:

            “only apply to buses serving hardworking, highly educated folks contributing to the local economy ”

            aspie alligator says:

      • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

        Yup, Well said, Andrew.

      • Leary says:

        You’re demanding that thousands of people add 90 minutes a day to their commute – seven and a half hours a week – or move to places that are just as expensive and would leave them considerably unhappier. That is a bigger sacrifice than being occasionally annoyed by a bus passing through your neighborhood.

        Anyways, some of the inconveniences for the city could probably be resolved through good faith negotiation between the city and these companies. But – let’s face it – this isn’t about those issues. It’s about the rage of a certain bunch of SF residents who don’t want people who aren’t Their Kind Of People living here. That’s why we’re not terribly sympathetic.

  38. tech scum die says:


  39. Blablabla says:

    Better still, GOOGLE THE FUCK BUS. Am I right?

  40. Richmond says:

    Best comment chain ever! Must be a new missionmission record!

  41. MissionBernal says:

    I never really understood why so many people freak out about business that are bringing jobs to the bay area. Yeah, they’re a lot of tech jobs in the bay area, but those tech jobs bring bus driver jobs and bartender jobs and small business jobs and so on. If you’re upset about the cost of living in San Francisco then complain to your local landlord who is jacking up the prices. It’s not Google’s fault or Facebook’s fault that prices in SF are out of control. All they’re doing is giving people jobs and making the economy in the entire bay area stronger.

    • jacob says:

      build more housing. supply and demand. landlords can only charge what people are willing to pay.

    • Matt says:

      Before you ra-ra all those bus driver jobs, you may want to inquire into the working conditions for those drivers. Every time I go to a bar (that isn’t cash only), I see a lot of credit cards flying around. Bubble much? And what small businesses? Are high-end restaurants really a sign of economic vitality?

      • troll says:

        You realize some of these plastic cards have the capability to be linked to a debit account, right? Not all people like carrying cash all the time. Some enjoy opening “tabs.” Did you dial-up into this convo?

      • MissionBernal says:

        Way to contribute absolutely nothing to this conversation. First, are you actually a bus driver? If not, don’t presume to know what those jobs are like. Second, companies like Square have made it possible for small businesses to take credit cards rather than cash only, so I’m not even sure what your point is about businesses taking credit cards. Third, in my neighborhood alone (yes, the Mission) 4 new independent locally-owned family businesses have opened in the last 6 months. Maybe you should try and leave that high-end restaurant where you’re spending all of your time and walk around a little in your neighborhood. I imagine you’ll see a lot more than you do in your little microcosm.

  42. Greg says:

    The pull quote that started this is starting to come full circle..

  43. The Year 1997 says:

    What, exactly, is this “Google” everyone is talking about?

  44. Smartyartblast says:

    I can see why people are frustrated at the influx of semi-carpet-bagging techie people. They drive up housing prices, the buses are sort of obnoxious (if you are on the outside one anyway) and the techies themselves are both moneyed and tribal. It all adds up to resentment, even from people who themselves were part of an earlier gentrification wave. And no doubt disliked by the then local in their turn. I don’t think there is a solution to this, except to maybe find larger things to worry about. We live in a capitalistic society, and those with money can pretty much do what they like. Personally I think a vibrant city needs a spectrum of people living in it, and that is what made San Francisco such a desirable place, and maybe that is going away a little bit. And that is too bad. The only solution I can see is, if these tech companies won’t up-steaks and move to the city, then build more housing so the costs go down, and then deal with increased congestion (and the bust cycle afterwards which is probably coming).

    • David HassleHough says:

      The problem is that there is nowhere affordable for scummy music/skater/crust punx and their hot girlfriends and dogs to create and destroy anymore. Diversity now defines its extremes in a manner akin to those “Im a PC….I’m a Mac” commercials. Nam sayn?

    • Blablabla says:

      Yeah they should definitely up-steaks.

  45. Smartyartblast says:

    BTW, Fuck Bus should definitely be a thing.

  46. mike says:

    well for what its worth, this is how we discussed this topic in NY

    i love you SF. i check your facebook pictures from afar. looks like its getting foggy. -mike

  47. Blablabla says:

    A useful, partial solution to the immediate bus problem would be regulation, right? Is there any regulation required right now? What about tour buses with regular routes and stops? I can’t believe they don’t need permits or licenses or something with the city. Or are tech-buses exempt because they don’t cater to the public? Either way, if they had to publicly apply for a license, and there was dialog about routes and timetables with residents, then probably everyone’d feel somewhat happier, or at least represented.

    (As with any public process, you’d likely end up with a watered-down, non-optimal solution, but that’s what happened when you have to please everyone.)

  48. The Year 1997 says:

    Median asking rents for San Francisco apartments listed on clocked in at a record $3,398 in the third quarter, up 21 percent from 2012, said apartment-finding company Lovely.

    “Rents are rising faster in San Francisco than almost anywhere else in the country,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist with housing service Trulia. “Rising rents are a bigger challenge than rising home prices, especially in a place like San Francisco where buying is out of reach for many middle-class and lower-middle-class people.”

    Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of the think-tank San Francisco Planning and Urban Research, said the city is facing a “crisis of affordability.”

    “What happens when you let a city get this expensive, is that over time, only the wealthy can live there. You lose everyone else,” he said.

    A spike in evictions has spurred protests of gentrification, including one at City Hall on Thursday. Activists say San Francisco must act to maintain a diversity of income levels.

    The root cause is simple, Metcalf said: “The growing regional economy coupled with decades of under-building housing.”

    San Francisco’s construction boom is helping to increase inventory. But to really make a dent on the housing shortage, Metcalf said, the city would need to deliver 5,000 new housing units a year for quite some time. It’s averaged 1,500 units a year over the past 20 years.

    New buildings in Mid-Market and the Mission have a two-faceted impact on rents.

    They command a pretty penny, driving up the median and average rental costs.

    However, some experts said the new buildings are forcing some older units to drop their prices to compete, thus giving prospective tenants some relief.

    “There’s a lot of brand-new Mid-Market stuff with nice amenities and high prices competing for the well-paid tech people,” said Laura Gray, a leasing agent with Paragon Real Estate Group. “The not-brand-new units are left struggling a little bit.”

    For instance, she’s listing for $2,900 a one-bedroom at a 6-year-old luxury building near AT&T Park and Caltrain.

    “A year ago, this would have rented for $3,500,” she said.

    Other agents said that there remain plenty of wallflower apartments, either because they’re in undesirable areas or overpriced.

    But that’s cold comfort to the folks engaged in the blood sport of apartment hunting in San Francisco.

  49. that can't be serious says:

    How do you cycle safely when one of these is double-parked with the cross traffic zooming past?

    I am OK with these corporate buses since they do fulfill a huge and real need. But these buses should be smaller, maybe an hybrid between airport shuttles and MUNI.

  50. Fuck Techies says:

    Twitter lost 65 million last year, pays no payroll taxes gets other tax breaks and hires only under 30. Twitter doubled its losses from last year and now they are going to sucker people in to buying their stock. It’s another bubble and the crash will be fun to watch this time as the overpaid, underworked tech class flees by the thousands. Just like 10 years ago. Same sh$t, new day.

    • umm says:

      i’ve heard a lot of stereotypes about tech workers who spend 18 hrs a day chained to a desk, i never thought ‘underworked’ would be added to the list.

    • ted says:

      It’ll be really fun watching them buy all these new condos. Your head will explode with envy.

      • heyballsack says:

        Pretty sure no one with taste wants an overpriced, prefab condo that looks like a fancy college dorm.

        • ted says:

          Those with taste (and more stock options) may prefer a $3M victorian, but those in are extremely short supply.

  51. Erin says:

    Gentrification is an issue of Responsibility and Respect. As class divide deepens, it’s not your fault. But you are responsible adults. Most people spend over an hour on their communes, most people live somewhere that is not their first choice because of their jobs or some other lifestyle they have fallen into. Be responsible for your actions; people aren’t throwing tantrums because they fear change. Perhaps some of them are, but to write off the backlash you’re getting on others’ inability to accept these changes is really irresponsible and disrespectful. We are also adults who want to live where we want to live for good reasons, and who want to get to work efficiently, and who try to think before we speak.
    In this day and age, there is a lot more consideration that needs to be taken for simple matters like trying to get a lucrative job and follow its path. More than our folks or their folks did. Just (wo)man up to the responsibility. Look how small the mission district is, look who already lives there, see it, realize what you’re doing and just opt for Noe Valley because you can afford it or better yet Silicon Valley itself because it was built For you and the Mission was not. You all don’t necessarily fit there.
    And I know San Francisco is a big metropolitan city and a huge portion of our population was not born here, and that’s what makes it a city that thrives. And that’s what makes it inviting to a new person. But a lot of those people are young people who are learning, and then they learn to Follow their paths elsewhere, or are people who already have communities here. You have a community in Silicon Valley. You are really moving in here. You just can’t act like you’re not causing waves here, you need to accept your actions and pay attention to the reactions.

    • troll says:

      I would hope most people spend way more than an hour on their communes. Why devote yourself to it if you don’t really mean it?

  52. Devon says:

    Don’t gentrify my city anymore than I already have!