Protesting a Google bus

Our pal Luke snapped this pic of this very organized protest this morning at 24th and Valencia. Thanks, Luke!

Check out the techies up top :(

UPDATE: SFist has lots more info.

103 Responses to “Protesting a Google bus”

  1. BanOnStuff says:

    Hey – they’re makers, okay?

  2. Michael Andrade says:

    I support this protest 100%.

    • YoloSubmarine says:

      Woah. Don’t go all anarchist on us now.

    • Valenchia says:

      Yeah it would be really horrible to have mass transit that actually works for people.

      Sure the Google buses should work so that they don’t conflict with Muni, but there are all of these bus stops that are empty most of the time. What is wrong with these Google buses using that “public infrastructure” . Why should we think that only government sponsored mass transit should be allowed to use that public infrastructure? It is like saying only government employees should be allowed to use sidewalks. Really, it doesn’t make anymore sense than that.

      The fact is that so far the government has been unable or unwilling to provide the degree of mass transit that people would like to have. We should be supportive of Google’s efforts to take cars off the streets and highways. But the protests are clearly far more motivated by envy, petty grievances and ideology than thinking about real solutions to our problems in a practical way.

  3. manymachines says:

    Seriously don’t understand why they don’t just go work from home for the day.

  4. Anarchist in $300 Jeans says:

    Whatevs. The poor decide very little.

  5. Eon says:

    I’m willing to bet gmail (or other google product) was used to help organize this protest.

    • timbo says:

      Well, in that case, it must not have any validity at all.

      • Eon says:

        These people have the right to live wherever they want.

        • timbo says:

          I don’t see anything signs in that picture that say, “Techies get out.” I see signs criticizing the illegal use of public property by private entities. That’s not really a point that’s open for debate. Private shuttles are not permitted to use MUNI stops.

          • peep says:

            It’s pretty obvious that the protest is not actually about the busses not paying for the stops.

            Lets assume that the Google/etc. busses start paying the city to use the stops. Do you actually think all the tech-hatred would evaporate?

          • timbo says:

            Of course the hatred won’t evaporate. But it might help. It’s a complicated issue, with at least some merit on all sides. And, certainly, the protest has deeper roots than may be indicated on the surface. Nonetheless, my point, which I maintain, is that on the basis of the photographs in this post, the point of this particular protest is focused on the illegal use of public bus stops by private buses. That’s a good one for these activists to focus on, because as things stand, it’s a cut-and-dried issue. If I park in a MUNI stop, I’m going to get hit with a $271 ticket. The same rules should apply to all users of the city’s streets.

          • Leary says:

            Man, you’ll all be so disappointed if they actually do cut a deal with tech companies to pay a pittance for shuttle stops. Then you’ll just be forced to find some other excuse to grumble about having to share a neighborhood with software engineers.

          • timbo says:

            Yeah, then I’ll just have to hate on them for being nerds.

          • Valenchia says:

            Well then the protest should be about changing that policy.
            The idea that what really rankles these people is the violation of some municipal code section is laughable. This is an anti-techie, anti-private company, anti-success movement.

          • timbo says:

            What is success? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not measured in dollars (or bitcoin)

          • Captain Lemon says:

            As soon as they start ticketing all the church goers that take up a whole lane of Dolores every Sunday we can worry about the Google buses using MUNI stops.

    • heyballsack says:

      This is an ad hominem. It has nothing to do with the validity of the protest. Are you sure you understand what is actually being protested?

  6. one says:

    Pass the popcorn.

  7. heyballsack says:

    Here’s a video of a Google employee telling protestor to leave the city or “get a better job” to afford the U.S.’s most expensive rental market:

  8. Steve-Z says:

    In other news, the involved parties are moving towards a workable solution like they all should’ve done 3 years ago, timetable dependent on the pilot program and the city’s decision-making speed.

  9. dizgo says:

    ok i totally get the tech-hater thing. there’s a lot of really annoying and serious (rent going up and evictions) consequences of their influx that need to be addressed…

    but would you really rather they all had cars? i think another 5k-10k people in the city with cars would be a lot more annoying and taxing on our infrastructure than the buses.

    i get the anger but i think targeting their buses is a bit misplaced and would do nothing to solve the problem and would only make it worse.

    • Tuffy says:

      Nope. Here’s what I want:

      1. The City to stop giving huge tax breaks to these companies that are making godzillions of dollars

      2. These companies to pay for the public infrastructure that they are illegally using/interrupting

      3. People who work for these companies to live closer to their office

      4. People who choose to live in SF but commute to these companies to use PUBLIC transportation (maybe if these rich ass tech companies paid their fair share of taxes our public transpo wouldn’t have to suck so much!)

      • Melissa says:


      • BanOnStuff says:


      • peep says:

        “3. People who work for these companies to live closer to their office”

        What about people who live in the city and work in Oakland? Should they also be required to live in the East Bay?

        • Tuffy says:

          I didn’t say anyone is “required” to live anywhere.

          Commuting 10 miles is pretty standard commute and BART makes that commute pretty easy.

          Commuting 45 miles+ seems a bit more crazy, especially when that commute is so bad that your company has to underwrite a fleet of busses to get you to and fro.

          Maybe Google, Apple, Facebook, Ebay and the rest of the gang should just open a bunch of restaurants and bars and clubs to go along with their cafeterias, gyms, yoga, massage and other amenities to coerce their collective work force to stay near their cube farms!

      • JohnnyL says:

        “The City to stop giving huge tax breaks to these companies that are making godzillions of dollars”

        How does the City of San Francisco give tax breaks to a Mountain View company again?

        • Tuffy says:

          See: Twitter

          • John Murphy says:

            Do you understand the nature of that tax break?

            It’s an exemption to a payroll tax – which is not found in many other cities. Not only that, the payroll tax applied to stock option income. Twitter went IPO, suddenly all their employees get a big bonus. Sensing that, Twitter would make a calculated move to go to Brisbane to avoid that big one-time tax bill.

            All in all, the City is collecting a lot more overall taxes because Twitter is still here paying all sorts of other taxes, than had they gone to Brisbane. Hell, it’s worth keeping them here just for the sales taxes their employees pay for the lattes.

      • Mr. Blackwell says:

        1. The city doesn’t give tax breaks to Google (or any of the other commuter bus companies).
        2. Such a deal is under way. Will you stop complaining when it’s complete?
        3. Who the hell are you to tell people where they can live and /or work?
        4. How is a Google bus any different from any other bus? This is a completely illogical argument.

        • Tuffy says:

          1. They do give huge breaks to Twitter to though.
          2. I’ll stop complaining if it actually has the public interests of San Francisco as a priority instead of bending over for Tech again.
          3. I’m not telling anyone where to live.
          4. First of all, I think we should call them Tech Busses and not single Google out. Secondly, the tech busses are privately funded fleet that is illegally using public transportation stops and interrupting the use of said stops.

          I’m not against theses busses. I see the benefit of less traffic and lower polluting emissions etc. etc. But presently, they are operating illegally and exploiting the cities public transport infrastructure.

          • Mr. Blackwell says:

            1. So what?!?! I thought we were talking about buses. Twitter does not provide “Tech Buses.”
            2. So really your number 2 was a red herring…thanks for acknowledging that.
            3. Yes, you actually are. “I want…People who work for these companies to live closer to their office.” That’s pretty clear.
            4. See number two. (and around and round we go)

            See number two again. Are we talking about the buses or not!?!? You seem confused.

      • dizgo says:

        1 the city does not give tax breaks to companies that aren’t in the city.

        you’re proposing that all the rich techies leave the city? humm that seems a bit extreme. doesn’t the money they spend in the city along with the local taxes they pay actually contribute to city services such as the muni/public transportation, road repair etc etc?

        4 you’re proposing forcing people to take public transportation? seems a bit extreme.

        anger and energy would be much better spent getting laws passed to protect residents against evictions and getting some kind of controls on how high landlords can raise rents on newly vacated apartments.

        Big white buses although a an obnoxious symbol of the problem isn’t actually the problem.

      • ed says:

        Its not like there is a train that takes you strait to Mountain View or something.

        If I had the money I would start one and call it Caltrain or something. Maybe have a stop somewhere within 2 miles of 24th and Mission. Like 22nd and Pennsylvania.

        Boy I wish someone would do something like that.

        • peep says:

          Speaking as someone who commuted by car from SF to Santa Clara for 6 years (and yes, for a tech-company, one which has existed in the bay area since before most of you were born), unless you live close to a Caltrain stop and your office is close to a Caltrain stop, you are looking at a 2+ hour commute.

          My company didn’t have shuttles, so I had to drive. Usually an hour and fifteen minutes. Fucking sucked. I dreamed of the day I could get a job in the city. Finally, it happened.

          Even through the nightmare that was my daily commute, I would have never, ever, ever left SF to live closer to my work. I love it here and am staying, and I’m guessing that this new breed of youngin’s with way too much money are gonna wanna stay here too, shuttles or no shuttles.

          Make the companies hiring the shuttles pay some money back to the city, it’s only fair. In the meantime, maybe the rest of us can focus our energies on getting our city to invest in more affordable housing, and on easing restrictions on developing new rentals. And getting rid of the bullshit Ellis Act loophole.

          • ed says:

            you can bike. they have bike cars.

            I know that the extra time sucks, but it isn’t really that much more. and you don’t have to drive.

            the Ellis act as currently stands is bullshit. I get the idea, allowing a family to put their grand baby in the rented unit. But it is way out of control.

            Also, yeah, make the tech shuttles pay for the roads. seems simple

          • peep says:

            I did the bike/CalTrain thing a few times. Honestly I just don’t feel safe cycling in this city. There are just too many shitty driver and cyclists. Also, the tail end of the bike commute from Caltrain stop to work was dangerous as well. Not worth dying for.

          • ed says:

            I don’t know when you did the commute, but CC has a well protected bike lane. Its a 10 minute ride from anywhere in the mission

          • peep says:

            Yeah it’s about a 15min bike from where I’m at. Luckily, I work in SF now and don;t have to worry about it anymore!

          • mr cool ice says:

            used to commute via bike & caltrain. it’s all fun and games until you try and get on at 22nd st and bike car is full. this only happened 40% of the time though.

      • John Murphy says:

        Right now if the Google and Apple people took Caltrain, Caltrain would collapse. The trains are PACKED. Caltrain is running at full out max capacity right now as it is. The shuttles have SAVED Caltrain from imploding under the load.

        Oh, but they should contribute ZOMG capital dollars to improve Caltrain!!!!

        Turns out that the voters approved $10B in bonds and have put a lot of money into a high speed rail project that would improve Caltrain. And the lovely people of Menlo Park filed suit to stop it. And to some extent they are winning. There is no amount of money to beat back a properly informed NIMBY.

      • Kevin Cureton says:

        I tried using public transit and biking to work from SF to Emeryville for over 6 years. Yesterday I got a car again for the first time in 7 years. Public transit sucks, especially when you have to take 3 systems to get to work (Muni, BART, EmeryGoRound). Cars are deadly to bicycles, as are the bicyclists that don’t follow the rules. So what is left? Car. Fix the public transit situation so that it doesn’t take 4 times longer to use public transit to get to work and I’ll consider it again. Plus make it reliable by putting it on a real schedule. Which is really the same as making it not take so long.

      • Dan says:

        Google is contemplating building up to 1.9 million square feet of office space in SF, so its employees will be able to work near home.

      • Valenchia says:

        Tuffy: Why most everyone use public transit? That seems just like an ideological position. Basically you want everyone to suffer from the government’s incompetence. Sorry, but I prefer to have citizens solve their problems.

      • umm says:

        1. those of us that work fulltime jobs and use the already crowded public transportation would seriously not benefit from all of these folks hopping on MUNI/BART instead of taking their private buses.

        2. if you think you should get to decide who lives where based on their job or any other factor you are an uber elitist facist douche.

        3. it sounds like you have a whole lot of misplaced anger, most of your issues seem to be with the City and not with these companies or their employees. why not block traffic at city hall?

  10. scum says:

    I wonder how many people that complain on here about gentrification/techies ect. were born/raised here. Just curious.

    • BanOnStuff says:

      I’m always curious as to why that’s relevant. I’m a Bay Area native, but I’ve only lived in the Mission for the last 6 years. When I moved here, though, I didn’t move with the expectation that this neighborhood would change to suit my needs. I shopped at the same grocery stores and restaurants that had been here for years before I moved here, and lived here because it was centrally located, had better weather than the rest of the city, and was semi-affordable for me even as a working student.

      What I, and I think a lot of other people are upset about, is the expectation that the new wave of much more wealthy gentrifiers seem to put forth – that this neighborhood has a responsibility to change to suit their needs. For me, and people like me, who came to this neighborhood in the last decade because they liked it the way it was, it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to us that these new arrivals need Valencia St. and 24th St. entirely whitewashed with new businesses and new buildings to suit their needs. I’m not naïve enough to not realize there are millions of dollars that stand to be made by development companies here – I just don’t understand the motivations of the shuttle bus people, why they would bother to recreate Palo Alto and Mountain View in San Francisco, when the real one is so much closer to work.

      • Mr. Blackwell says:

        The Mission, like all dynamic neighborhoods, has been changing constantly for all the 25 years I’ve been here. I think your perception is skewed because the current change is not to your taste. And if you think the Mission is (or ever will be) anything like Palo Alto or Mountain View, I doubt the veracity of your statement that you are a native.

      • Valenchia says:

        umm, and what evidence do you have that people expect the neighborhood to change to suit their needs? It seems like you are attacking a straw man.

      • Leary says:

        “What I, and I think a lot of other people are upset about, is the expectation that the new wave of much more wealthy gentrifiers seem to put forth – that this neighborhood has a responsibility to change to suit their needs”

        I don’t think anyone is saying that there’s a responsibility to put in fancy upscale shops to keep people with more money happy. But it is fair to ask why a city that has had thousands of people moving into it every year for some time now won’t see to it that new housing gets built somewhere to accommodate that. Maybe if you all had done that, there wouldn’t be so many tech people wrestling over beat-up old studios in the Mission.

  11. Mamenme la verga says:

    Techies, the new undesirable immigrants

  12. Why does everyone always cry gentrification when something gets nicer?

  13. Ken says:

    The underlying issues are that SF is a very desirable place to live, it has a finite amount of housing, and it’s smack dab in the center of a booming tech industry. Short of a major economic collapse and/or a communist revolution, I’m not sure what’s going to change this.

  14. techie says:

    The rising rent is stupid and something should be done. But people’s misplaced anger at a bunch of people chasing good jobs is ridiculous. Do these people really want there to be far fewer good paying jobs in our city? San Francisco’s unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the nation, and well below California’s unemployment rate. The tech industry in SF alone provides tens, if not hundreds of thousands of jobs for people of every skill set, and it pays well. My only guess is that misery loves company, and that is why the angry haters want all the jobs and cash flow to go away.

    • El Dedo says:

      close. the haters want SF to be a static incarnation of that first night they spent at the albion ‘back in the day’ when they were all hanging out with their cool friends, seeing some shitty band at El Rio and talking about how rad that art show thrown by their friend ‘lightswitch’ on Valencia was (it wasn’t rad at all)
      They want to live in that amazing old vic 2 BR flat but they don’t want to pay for it (or share it with someone else) OR if they do pay for it, they only want to pay two or three hundred bucks so they can brag to all of their cool friends about that amazing old vic 2 BR flat they scored on the cheap (and no, you can’t share it with me). Plus it’s easier on the pocketbooks of their parents if they get the cheap place to live, god forbid they knuckle down and get a job where they have to get up before 11:30am.
      They want to express their lament for the poor in this city but they certainly do not want to go work in a soup kitchen or volunteer or [gasp] give money to local charities, because “All those [yuppies],[bankers],[_and the hate dujour TECHIES] should pay for that shit not them. They’re too busy keepin’ it real! Which basically means they wake up late, go work 3 or 4 hours at the low wage dead end job that only those talentless, ambition challenged deadbeats can manage to keep. Then the rest of the day getting shitty at DP on PBR and cheap weed while working on their tied yarn mobile/sculpture “art project” which is closer to a formless knot of yarn than anything anyone would consider artistic.

      Since living in SF since 1989 I’ve met literally hundred of these people. I’ll take the yuppy/techie anyday thanks. At least they pay taxes and buy shit.

      • Bobaduh says:

        Spot on. I’ve been in the same spot in the Mission since the early 90s and have seen the exact same shit you describe ever since I got here.

  15. a voice in the dark says:

    I think Google employees should be forced to live where they work: on the internet.

  16. MissionBernal says:

    If rich people want to pay me enough so that I can join their “rich” ranks, I promise to spread the word among the rich-haters that they’re a-ok

  17. Starving Grad Student Living off of Your Tax Dollars says:

    Google should contract with Amazon so that drones can pick people up from SF and drop them off in Mountain View. Problem solved!

  18. Sabu says:

    I think the crux of the issue is the motivation of the protest. If these people commute by MUNI every morning, and their buses are constantly being delayed by tech buses using the public bus stop, then they have a fair gripe. If they are mad because tech workers are driving up the cost of living in San Francisco and hurting its character, well then the protest is mis-guided. Just be honest and hold up a sign that says “WE HATE TECHIES” or something like that.

    • K says:

      But what if the cold breeze coming through your rent controlled apt wall causes the sounds of the google bus to wake you up every morning ? Apt maintenance and neighborhood improvements that should be happening are being withheld by the property owners in hopes that the occupants will move out …..then they put money into the place and rent it for 5x the price to a tech employee who makes 5x as much. So yes, people are mad. The existence of these high paying jobs combined w access to free transportation has directly affected the profits of local slumlords. And the crux is that many tech employees find this area desirable for its ‘texture,’ which their presence is systematically destroying.

      • Selene says:

        Oh no, traffic noise wakes you up in the morning? In a big city?! The horror! You poor thing. Something MUST be done! Speaking of which, if your apartment needs maintenance or improvements you should DEMAND your landlord perform them; it is the landlord’s legal responsibility to have the building at least up to code, and beyond that to the standards you accepted when you signed your lease.

        • Bingenheimer says:

          Hi Selene. You suck at understanding things other people say.

        • K says:

          Have you tried demanding improvements from a slumlord under advisement from the tenants union and rent board? Cause it takes a very long time. Or do you live on one of those side streets where Google bought up real estate to offer housing to its employees? Does your hubby ride a razor scooter to the bus after you wipe his ass in the morning?

          You assume in your comment that the legal system is this flawless thing with zero emissions and health benefits. Legal responsibility has been sold to people like you. People who assume I had enough money to choose where I wanted to live when I signed a lease. I, in fact, just found the cheapest place near my job.

  19. siesta says:

    I think the issue of google not paying the city for use of bus stops represents the bigger issue, that the boom of the tech industry is not benefiting the city at large–it’s benefiting people who work in the tech industry. All this tech money doesn’t seem to be morphing into improvements in infrastructure and transportation, for instance.

    And, techies are among the worst in philanthropic giving. Spare money tends to go to startups, rather than to making their communities better. How is it that this city is being filled with people who make well above six figures, and organizations like Homeless Youth Alliance (the only ones out there that give a shit about the homeless kids in the Haight) have to shutter their doors because they can’t afford the rising rent?

  20. Oyster Boy says:

    Go cry in your PBR and tell your mommy you need more money in your allowance for art supplies.

  21. mike says:

    every time i look back on SF

  22. jon says:

  23. Amanda says:

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