The SF Gate reported that a group of activist dressed in circus acrobat body, featuring the search giant’s own color palette danced and cavorted in front of a Google shuttle in San Francisco’s Mission District.
Protesters called themselves the “GMuni Dancers” blocked the bus at a Mission Street stop at around 9 a.m. Pacific, while “doing acrobatics and bouncing exercise balls”.
One protester even dressed up as a kind of bizarre, Google-branded surveillance camera on stilts, as documented in SFGate’s photo gallery of the protest.
Google and other tech companies are questioned for the shuttle programs they operate to transport employees from San Francisco and other areas to their campuses in Silicon Valley. These private shuttles use public bus stops to pick up passengers, which the local activists argue is free-riding by big tech firms on publicly owned property.
One solution to the issue is a pilot program enacted by San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) to charge companies operating private shuttle buses a fee to use the city’s Mini bus stops. To which the director of the Housing Rights Committee and the SEIU Local 1021 have backed the appeal of the current MTA pilot program, SFGate reported.
“The first bus protest led to a public conversation that needed to be had,” the site quoted protest organizer Amanda Ream as saying. “Muni’s in crisis, in debt. We want to see an effort to protect economic diversity in San Francisco, and that means a well-funded Muni.”
During the morning Google Bus blockade, protesters “handed out fake bus passes for ‘GMuni’ and encouraged passersby to use them to board the Google Bus” while at least one protestor tried to board the shuttle but was stopped by its driver, SFGate reported.
Google recently announced that it is donating $6.8 million to San Francisco’s Free Muni for Youth Pilot Program, which provides low- and moderate-income students in San Francisco free access to public transportation run by the MTA.
“San Francisco residents are rightly frustrated that we don’t pay more to use city bus stops.”one of the Google Rep stated.