Update, 4:25 p.m.: The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors has just approved a pilot program to begin regulating employee shuttles in the city.
The proposal was passed by a unanimous voice vote that came after two hours of sometimes angry public comment.
The hearing took place after anti-displacement protesters held another in a series of protests against the buses, which are used by Google, Facebook, Apple and other tech firms to transport workers to the South Bay. In today's action, marchers blocked buses reportedly headed for Google and Facebook at 8th and Market Streets for about 30 minutes during the morning rush hour. The activists, who are demanding the city take action to slow the pace of evictions and limit rent increases, then marched to the San Francisco Association of Realtors before holding a rally at City Hall.
The SFMTA's pilot program would cover shuttles for UCSF and other colleges in the city as well as bus services operated on behalf of large office buildings and the Silicon Valley technology companies. If approved, the SFMTA proposal would:
- Require shuttle operators — both bus firms and companies that set up shuttles for workers — to get permits to operate in San Francisco.
- Designate 200 stops for shuttle use, many of which are Muni bus stops.
- Impose rules to prevent shuttles from blocking Muni vehicles or other traffic.
- Charge buses $1 for every stop they make. SFMTA planners say that will raise $1.5 million over the life of the 18-month pilot and defray the program 's costs.
The SFMTA board heard about two hours of public comment on the proposal. On the anti-side, residents and activists said the $1 per stop price was too low, that the buses are out of control on the streets, that they pose a danger to pedestrians and cyclists, and that they're helping fuel the displacement of tenants unable to pay rents driven upward by the influx of highly paid tech workers.