Roughly 8,500 people in San Francisco catch a ride to work on one of those so-called “tech buses” – private commuter shuttles that transport employees to work daily. If you’re among them, get ready – your commute could soon be headed for some major changes.
On Tuesday, the SFMTA presented a new study to the agency's board members, which examined the possibility of dramatically reducing the number of allowable bus stops for private shuttles and buses.
Currently, tech buses can pick-up and drop-off riders from 125 designated stops throughout San Francisco. The study focused on four alternative strategies that would significantly reduce the number of stops to between one and 30, depending on the specific plan.
Such a move would likely reduce the frequency of private commuter shuttles interfering with MUNI buses, according to the study, since 100 of the designated stops for private vehicles also double as public bus stops.
The study, however, also found that eliminating such a large number of stops could push 24 to 45 percent of riders to drive to work instead – increasing traffic and the risk of collisions for everyone.
Earlier this year, the Investigative Unit exposed how private tech buses have committed hundreds of traffic violations in recent years. While private transportation companies operate the buses, they’re hired by some of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech firms like Facebook, Apple, and Google.
According to the newly released SFMTA study, a successful hub system should improve the “quality of life in San Francisco” and also reduce “the physical footprint of a commuter shuttle system.”
The SFTMA board will likely vote in March on whether to shrink the network of allowable stops for private buses.