Monday, March 30, 2009

The Google Bus (or Apple Bus, Paypal bus, etc...)

There is a little kerfluffle in Noe Valley over The Google Bus - of course it is pointed out in this blog entry that the bus that has everyone in a tizzy is actually an "Apple Bus".

For those of you not denizens of the Valley (Silicon or Noe), the "Google Bus" is a company shuttle run by Google, which magically transports their employees from some location, to work, and back. One of the primary hotspots for the Google Bus is Noe Valley, favored locale of infants, dogs, and Googlers who are not defiling the Mission instead.

The NIMBY's don't want this horrendous shuttle in their neighborhood. One could argue that perhaps what they don't want in their neighborhood is the Trendy Google Professionals. This of course doesn't make a whole hell of a lot of sense, most of the people complaining are homeowners and carowners. The TGP's are keeping their housing values up and by taking the shuttles are reducing traffic and in most cases simplifying parking in the neighborhood by not owning cars. And frankly if cranks are not homeowners or carowners, they are probably waiters or dogwalkers or nannies and they really shouldn't be chasing their patrons out of the neighborhood.

The issue. The buses are pretty big. Perhaps a tad bigger than a MUNI bus. But they run for a very short period in the AM and PM, and take a buttload of traffic off the streets. They do - or do not - take the same route as the 24 bus. If the do not - and this is deemed to be a problem, all that they need to do is talk to Google/Apple/whomever. Earlier they were idling on Jersey St, a small residential street. The NIMBY's decided to "Take it to the Man" and surprisingly - "The Man" said "Wow, that would really suck to have that big bus on your narrow street - we won't idle the bus there anymore!" This of course displeased the cranks who apparently were not actually trying to get the bus off of Jersey - they were trying to get the bus to vanish into thin air, and their bluff got called. Doh!

There is some complaint about the bus using Sanchez instead of Noe St (this sort of makes sense to me as Noe has a huge hill, but I digress). See, the Sanchez Street people say "If I wanted to hear 6 huge buses per day go past my house, I would have slummed it up and bought on Noe St!" If this were an actual actionable complaint - it's pretty certain Apple/Google/whomever would just tell Bauer to re-route their behemoths - problem solved.

I mean, I don't get it. If Menlo Park keeps the HSR out of their neighborhood, they do the region a huge disservice, but they get some marginal localized benefit. The shuttles do the region a huge service... and they do the neighborhood a huge service. These guys are just being cranks for the sake of being cranks.

I happen to not be able to take one of these lovely shuttles, thus I spend a lot of time grousing about getting my bike on the Caltrain. But I do ride bikes with some of the gentry who do get to ride these shuttles. We were discussing this issue and the following point counterpoint came up that I found very amusing....

We can form an automobile based critical mass in Noe Valley. Everyone that
usually takes shuttles can whip out their cars for one specific morning and
we'll demonstrate how an extra N cars on 24th st. can negatively impact the


Yeah! Stick it to the NIMBY MAN!

sure... if i had a driver's license and a car.


Doh! Stick it to the nimby man FAIL.


Amber said...

LOVE this post! Im in Los Altos and we dont have those buses and Im going to guess they fought them from the beginning? Would be GREAT if they did... love to send the hubby off on the school bus to work. Do you Twitter?

-p said...

Oh man, those big Bauers busses are the envy of every valley commuter. I bet they could run a business just shuttling from the bedroom communities to the industrial parks, putting SamTrans, VTA and MUNI to shame!!!

murphstahoe said...

Actually it exists already. Bauer is running a private service.

Checking their website - they are rapidly searching for their market. At first it there were two runs to the Peninsula - one going to Mountain View, one going to Milpitas, only picking up at the Ferry Building.

Now, they have added a stop at Caltrain. This is a good call on their part for one key reason - you can ride your bike to Caltrain and valet park your bike at Warm Planet.

Additionally - they combined the SV/MV/Milpitas runs into one run, and the other bus is now going to Menlo Park, finishing at Caltrain. Of course their schedule plans to be an hour and five minutes to Menlo Park, vs 35 minutes for a Caltrain Baby Bullet.