Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Tech Buses = NO!!

Google and Apple Buses Targeted in San Francisco

It seems that Apple and Google aren’t very popular with San Francisco residents. A few days ago protesters blocked buses operated by Google and Apple in San Francisco and Oakland in a backlash against the expanding tech industry’s impact.

Recently the protesters surrounded a corporate bus in the Mission district when it was picking up Apple employees in the morning and wouldn’t allow it leave for 30 minutes. Then a couple of Google buses in Oakland were also targeted.

The demonstrators explained that the protest was all about how the ruling class (the one becoming the tech class) fails to listen to the voices of people that are being displaced. They unfurled a banner saying “Eviction Free San Francisco” and were distributing flyers titled “San Francisco: A tale of two cities”.

Apparently, the buses have become visible symbols of so-called “technology-driven gentrification” of San Francisco, where young, well-paid tech experts keep forcing out poorer people. It is believed that city policies are too generous to the tech industry – in case a tech company threatens to leave San Francisco, it can get a nice tax cut. This is what Twitter has done one day.

The corporate bus idea was to ease traffic on the city’s clogged highways, and they also have nicer seats with Wi-Fi. But the protesters complain that the buses crowd municipal bus stops and remove potential customers from cash-strapped public transportation systems like local rail services.

They also point out that there has been no trickledown effect from the tech companies’ success either. Actually, rents in San Francisco have even surged, with the median rent on a 2-bedroom apartment increasing 10% over 2013 – up to $3,250. At the same time, evictions increased 25% to 1,716 in 2013.

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