Public transit in the Bay Area is so bad that it's devolved into a Mad Max techno-libertarian sci-fi hell-scape, with citizens forced to hitch rides with romantic predators or just yacht to work. But if you work for a big tech company, you get a luxury charter shuttle. Sounds fair, right? SF is struggling to keep everyone happy.

The buses—white behemoths decked out with air conditioning and Wi-Fi—are a perfect symbol of Valley ego: fuck you and your commute, pedestrian, the Yahoo! engineers need to get to work. The private buses regularly stop (and obstruct) public stations, block intersections, and generally screw with the way municipal transportation is supposed to work in San Francisco. It makes a lot of people who are unfortunate enough to not work for Facebook feel very cranky.

So here's a solution, maybe, the San Francisco Chronicle reports:

Muni wants to share 100 of its stops with the growing swarm of private commuter shuttles, give priority to its own buses and charge a fee to the private operators in an effort to impose some order on the out-of-control industry.

Emphasis on "some" order. Using a public bus stop for private chauffeuring is illegal, and the Chronicle says San Francisco's "approach so far has been a combination of looking the other way, trying to work out problems with shuttle operators and issuing citations." Now the city will formalize the system, wherein companies like Facebook use public infrastructure for entirely private purposes. A company perk becomes public policy.

Comments from and Facebook show not everyone is pleased:

I am a teacher at Mission High and every morning I watch these ridiculously large shuttle busses cause my students to be late to class while they block the MUNI stops and narrow 18th street so that tech employees can get their lattes at Dolores Park Cafe before they board. MUNI already has issues with time schedules and being held up by these busses makes it worse. The people who ride these shuttles and "live" in the neighborhood are making it difficult for long time residents in a number of ways. It's unclear why they can't have these shuttles meet a centralized transit center.

Good luck with all that. This whole thing is amazing to me. A bunch of extremely wealthy corporations start blatantly breaking the law and misappropriating publicly owned spaces to haul their pampered, overpaid employees to their offices (so they can work the whole way there, of course) and the city does nothing for years, then meekly requests that they pay a nominal fee. As if.

Imagine if Bank of America or Bechtel or Chevron had done this. The outrage would have been overwhelming. The arrogance of these people. They really do think it's 1999 all over again.

These shuttle buses also enable people that are causing rents to go up and they come here but do not pay to support services of all if they get them provided by the company.

It hurts to have your rent churned up by the elite, and it hurts even more to have your commute smashed by the same set.

Photo: Richard Masoner