Apple, Google to Pay $1.5 Million to Use San Francisco Bus Stops

Apple, Google, Facebook, and other tech companies in Silicon Valley will soon be paying the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) a small fee to use the city's bus stops. According to The Verge, the SFMTA voted unanimously on Tuesday to pass a measure that would require regional commuter busses to pay US$1 per stop during an 18-month pilot program expected to net $1.5 million.

Pennies from Heaven

The move comes in the wake of sometimes violent protests targeting shuttles operated by Google and Apple in San Francisco. Protesters blame the reality that the high wages paid by Silicon Valley tech giants have resulted in skyrocketing rents in San Francisco, but they were also complaining that those companies were using city bus stops without permission and without paying.

The SFMTA's pilot program would nominally rectify the last issue—though protesters were complaining ahead of the vote that a buck a stop per bus was far less than locals pay to use city busses. Indeed, the $1.5 million won't make a profit for the SFMTA, and will only cover permits, enforcement, and evaluating the program.

It also doesn't address the housing issue, but the housing issue is not only outside the SFMTA's ability to "fix," it's not really fixable at all because rising rents are an issue of supply and demand. But, the pilot program does at least address the issue of permission.

The Verge noted that the SFMTA showed data in support of the program that the commuter busses significantly reduce traffic in crowded San Francisco, and even lower car ownership.