San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has just proposed to charge tech companies whose commuter shuttles stop at public MUNI bus stops. The plan, laid out at a press conference today, requires shuttles to have a permit that will fund the initial 18 month pilot program. The permits could cost around $100,000 a year per company, according to tweets from Sarah G McBride and KRON 4’s Dan Kerman
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency still needs to approve the plan at a January 21st meeting before it goes into action. Representatives of Google, Apple, Genentech, and Facebook appeared alongside Mayor Lee at the press conference.
Shuttle companies like Bauer’s and the tech giants that employ them well be charged a per MUNI stop used per day fee. Kerman reports the pilot could generate $1.5 milllion, implying 10 to 15 companies could be on the hook to pay a fee for their shuttles. The plan would make it illegal for shuttles from companies without permits to use MUNI stops.
Update: Below is the full press release on the program from Mayor Ed Lee:
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Lee’s program could ease tensions about tech companies gentrifying San Francisco by offering commuter shuttles that make it easier for employees to live in the city. Last month, protestors stopped Google and Apple shuttles and one had its window broken.
While Lee’s plan might be a good start, some organizers of the protests called for tech companies to pay $1 billion for use of the MUNI stops until now — a figure based on the fines they’d receive if the city had been enforcing the law.
Last month, the SFMTA said private commuter shuttle buses use roughly 200 SF MUNI bus stops to carry 35,000 employees back and forth between San Francisco and companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Genentech. Some consider this an unacceptable private use of public infrastructure that could be delaying MUNI buses and their passengers.
By charging companies, SF could put the money made towards improving shared public-private infrastucture, enhancing public transportation within the city, or funding other programs that mitigate the impact of gentrification.