Groups Sue To Block Tech Bus Plan, Say Shuttles “Symbolize a pretty critical housing shortage in our city”

A coalition of housing, labor and LGBT advocates today filed an environmental appeal against San Francisco’s plan to allow private commuter shuttles to use public bus stops for a small fee.

The 18-month pilot program, approved by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors last month, will charge $1 per stop for the use of Muni stops by companies like Google and Facebook transporting their employees to work down the Peninsula.

The appeal, filed today by a group including Sara Shortt, executive director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, Tom Temprano, president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Club, and members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, argues that the program should be subject to environmental review.

The program was set to start on July 1 but could be delayed as a result of the appeal, which the city’s Board of Supervisors is required to hear within 21 to 45 days from today.

The group filing the appeal says that the buses are causing the displacement of residents and leading to adverse air quality impacts.

“There’s a reason these buses have come to symbolize a pretty critical housing shortage in our city,” Temprano said.

“We want the MTA and city to do due diligence on the actual impacts of the shuttles,” he said. “Mapping and data shows rents and evictions have skyrocketed along these bus routes.”

Cynthia Crews from the San Francisco League of Pissed-Off Voters, another member of the group filing the appeal, said the program is also affecting Muni bus service.

“Charging $1 per bus per stop is a joke,” Crews said in a statement. “It does nothing to mitigate the operation impacts to vital Muni service or to address the car trips created through displacement.”

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said the agency is confident that the environmental clearance for the pilot program is appropriate and will be upheld despite the appeal.

“We developed this pilot proposal to help insure the most efficient transportation network possible by reducing Muni delays and further reducing congestion on our roadways,” Rose said.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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