Throwing the Bus Under the Bus

After several protests and a contentious city hall gathering, Google has agreed to pay a dollar each time its corporate shuttle uses a San Francisco bus stop (the city really should have held out for equity). This will not end the controversy over the buses from Google and other companies that transport tech workers to their Silicon Valley offices. But wait, don’t the buses reduce the traffic and emissions associated with additional cars on the road? And if some SF residents who take one kind of bus are protesting against other SF residents who take another kind of bus, don’t the people who take limos win? As Kevin Roose explains, the bus wars have never really been about Google buses: “For concerned locals, the shuttles symbolize their collective fears about the rise of the tech sector — that rents are spiking, that long-time residents are being pushed out by coddled 22-year-olds with Stanford BAs and venture funding, that a great American city with a rich countercultural history is turning into a staid bedroom community for Silicon Valley.”

+ There are also reports that protestors showed up at the doorstep of the Berkeley home of Google’s Anthony Levandowski who helped develop Street View and Google’s self-driving car.

+ So what exactly happens when gentrification comes to town? The longtime residents of changing neighborhoods are squeezed out, right? Maybe not. According to NPR, a series of new studies suggest “that gentrifying neighborhoods may be a boon to longtime residents as well — and that those residents may not be moving out after all.”

+ Full disclosure: I invest in Internet startups, including one that provides bus services for commuters from several Bay Area companies. That said, I only take public transportation when my drone is in the shop.

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