It's been a tumultuous week in San Francisco. The city's transit agency held hearings to regulate the ubiquitous tech buses, but protesters say the buses have already ruined the city's real estate. It's a What's Ruining Our Cities San Francisco Special Edition.
On Tuesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency approved an 18-month pilot program to charge tech companies to use public bus stops for their private shuttles to Silicon Valley. Protesters showed up en masse with claims that rents and evictions are higher near the places that the buses stop, proving that the buses are pushing out local residents. "I know there is a lot of frustration and anxiety in the city right now around the cost of housing … blaming tech workers in not a solution to our housing problems," said Carli Paine, an SFMTA employee. The protesters did not agree. [Time]
One of the biggest complaints about the tech buses is that these companies are funneling money into a private service which could be used to improve the commuter system Caltrain, which runs directly to Silicon Valley. Turns out that even though the bus riders value living in the dense walkable community of San Francisco, they're not down with patronizing public transit. Two grad students at the University of California at Berkeley interviewed workers at the estimated 200 private shuttle stops, asking them what they'd do if the bus service ended: "48 percent of these people said they would drive to work alone. Only 18 percent said that they would take Caltrain, and 15 percent said they'd carpool. 10 percent said they'd leave the job." [Atlantic Cities]
Maybe San Francisco would be a better place if the overly vocal tech leaders would just shut up and do something for the city? That's the idea in two separate pieces that place the blame squarely on the "techbrats" who are giving San Francisco startups a bad name. Anil Dash and Jason Calacanis both offer advice for tech companies to host events, start nonprofits, and open up their campus to the community—anything that will infuse their ethos with some civic responsibility. [Dashes, PandoDaily]
Members of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco and other activists protest outside of City Hall in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. San Francisco officials are set to vote on a plan to start regulating employee shuttles for companies like Google, Facebook and Apple, charging a fee for those that use public bus stops and controlling where they load and unload. Private shuttle buses have created traffic problems, blocking public bus stops during peak commute hours. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)