Tech Companies Want to Buy Protestors' Silence for $1 Per Bus Stop

The only thing more laughable than protestors demanding that tech corporations pay San Francisco $1 billion/year for illegally using public bus stops is Mayor Ed Lee's proposed solution. His plan calls for companies like Google to pay a pitiful $1 per bus stop squat.

According to Reuters:

The fees will be calculated based on a company's usage of SFMTA bus stops, which SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said would result in charges of around $1 per stop per day. That creates fees averaging about $100,000 per company that uses the buses, or about $1.5 million total for the city.

The plan won't be voted on by the Board of Supervisors until later this month. But in its current state, the fee is parking meter money—chump change for CEOs like Larry Page, who is sitting atop a market cap of $380 billion. SFWeekly compared it to a "library fine":

So, the real goal isn't to bring to fruition that longtime primal urge of vestiges of this city's left: Grab Downtown by the ankles and shake, with everything that tumbles out its pockets landing in a big vat of funds for Muni (and everything else). [...]

And, even apart from this city's coddling of all things tech, and as galling as it is to witness San Francisco transformed into a bedroom community for The Valley, it's not exactly sound policy to crack down on tech buses in a manner that shunts riders into cars.

There's the rub with picking cushy corporate buses as enemy no. 1—great roving symbols of inequality though they are. Just take this press release from the Housing Rights Committee issued in tandem with the Mayor's bus announcement (via Uptown Almanac):

"We are prepared to be demand more of City Hall if it appears that Mayor Lee's plan is not realistically aggressive enough to address the concerns of poor, working, and middle-class San Franciscans," wrote Eviction Free San Francisco organizer Jennifer Cust. "The tech industry has fueled soaring rents and accompanying evictions that have uprooted longtime residents, families, artists, teachers, and many others. The industry must step up and contribute to help San Francisco retain its diversity, culture, and affordability."

It's hard to picture those intractable urban ills ameliorated with shuttle fines, especially not if the payback amounts to less than $1 million a year.

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