Google Gets Guards for Employee Shuttles in San Francisco

| Editorial

Security?Security? Why do you ask?

Google has brought on security for some of its employee shuttles in San Francisco. Reuters reported that men with ear pieces have been monitoring shuttle stops, taking notes and observing who gets on and off the shuttles.

The move comes in the wake of protests that targeted shuttles owned by Google, Apple and other Silicon Valley giants, as locals blame those companies for rising rents in San Francisco. The security team didn't specifically identify themselves to Reuters, but when asked if they were guards for the busses, they replied, "Can I see your badge?"

The protests targeting the busses took place in December, and almost all of them were peaceful, with protesters wanting the tech giants to pay for using city bus stops, and to draw attention to evictions taking place throughout the city as rents rise ever higher.

That said, there was one incident where a shuttle window was shattered, and Google is no doubt responding to the potential for violence. There's no word yet if Apple has done the same thing, and no one is confirming that the guards on hand at the Google stops were hired by Google.

But, you know, duh. Right?

In the meanwhile, Reuters also said that the tech giants in question have reached agreements with San Francisco over use of the bus stops, meaning that at least one aim of the protesters has been reached. What to do about the reality of well-paid tech employees pushing up rents is another story.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Comments

Lee Dronick

Don’t blame the tech companies for the high rent, blame the landlords.

akcarver

The tech companies are partially to blame as well. Apple is based in Cupertino, not SFO, but people don’t want to live in Cupertino, they want to live in SFO. Since their employees are increasing demand, but supply is not undergoing a concomitant increase, the prices will rise. This is basic economics. If Apple (or other companies) did not provide shuttles from SFO to their home bases, then the demand would not be as high, and the prices would not be going up.

iJack

Back in the Summer,I was visiting my grown sons in SFO, and I can tell you for a fact, this is a very volatile situation. While the Bay Area is enormous, San Francisco is a relatively small city at 825,000 souls. These rich cats from Cupertino don’t want to live in Oakland, or Daly City. They want properties in San Francisco proper, and there lies the rub.

I heard the subject come up in restaurants, bodegas, and on construction sites. Ordinary folks are extraordinarily angry. When I was coming out of the downtown Apple Store, a small Google shuttle bus went by, and people on both sides of the street stopped walking to glare. Some fella shouted, “piss off,” and got a roar of approval from the bystanders.

It’s not that they are buying SFO properties, but the sheer scale at which it is happening.  It is completely disruptive of the small-town cultural fabric, and no good can come of it.  Property laws and the ‘natural’ laws of economics notwithstanding, there will be blood.

Lee Dronick

Dont be Haightin.

iJack

Kiss my Ashbury!

brett_x

Blame the landlords, Lee? Really? So I guess they should charge less than the demand to be nice people?  Have you ever sold anything for income? Would you do so at less than the market could sustain?

Lee Dronick

Brett, It wasn’t the tech companies that set the rents.

brett_x

The landlords can only set rent as high as the market will allow.
I don’t blame either the tech companies or the landlords. It’s basic supply and demand. If the city didn’t want such high rent, they could enact rent control or zoning changes. Otherwise, it’s supply and demand.

That said, I really don’t know much about the specifics of San Francisco market. I’m just saying that you seem to be suggesting that landlords leave money on the table. It’s just not realistic. Being a landlord isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Not only can it be a lot of work, it also can be very risky.

Lee Dronick

Brett my point is that the protestors should be protesting the landlords not the workers. Yes, this could bring rent control. A possibility I see is someone building a housing place somewhere else, a facility geared towards tech professionals. Google barges?

iJack

Landlords, schmandlords. This has nothing whatsoever to do with renting, in spite of what Bryan says. These are busloads of millionaires
buying properties, which in turn raises all prices.

wab95

Lee:

Dont be Haightin.

iJack:

Kiss my Ashbury!

Many thanks for that, guys. Made my morning. I do miss my time at a little private university you might have heard of, just next to Palo Alto, and my occasional forays into The City.

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