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Tech Buses Are Not to Blame for San Francisco's Housing Crisis

On the contrary, according to a new Muni review, they’re great for the city’s transportation system.
Protestors block a Google bus in San Francisco on August 1, 2014.
Protestors block a Google bus in San Francisco on August 1, 2014.REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

The tech buses that shuttle commuters from San Francisco to Silicon Valley catch a lot of heat from locals who see them as a symbol of gentrification or displacement in the city. But a new analysis of their impact by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, aka Muni, suggests they don’t bear much blame for the affordability crisis. And from a transportation perspective, the tech buses actually do the city a whole lot of good.

A quick recap: In January 2014, following waves of protests, Muni announced a pilot program to charge the private shuttles a fee to access public bus stops. The logical (and, in a planning sense, fresh) idea was that Apple, Google, Facebook, and the like should have to pay for taxpayer-funded transit infrastructure. In August the 18-month pilot went into effect, and officials have now had about a year’s worth of data to consider.