Who influenced the Google-bus policy?

Pub date February 18, 2014
WriterRebecca Bowe

On SFBG.com last week, we published a list of the attendees (and corporate affiliations) who were recorded as having attended stakeholder meetings with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to discuss that private shuttle pilot program that caused such a dustup last month. The list is a matter of public record and was submitted to the Bay Guardian by a source who wished to remain anonymous.

Google was in the room, of course, but not all attendees were affiliated with corporate shuttle providers who bus employees to their workplaces. One company, called Leap Transit, has started a private luxury bus in San Francisco that is not affiliated with any particular employer.

“Our buses are clean and our staff is friendly,” according to Leap’s website. “Sip your morning coffee in peace.” (Leap did not respond to our request for an interview about its future plans.)

Another participant who seemed a bit far afield from the transportation sector was a representative from TMG Partners, a real-estate developer. Also included in the meeting was a representative from a law firm called Morrison Foerster which has represented major tech investors such as Kleiner Perkins, according to its website, which can be found at mofo.com.

How did these individuals manage to get invites? We emailed SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose to ask that question. He told us, “When we started the work, we received a set of shuttle sector contacts from the [San Francisco County Transportation Authority], who started looking at this issue. One of the first things we did was reach out to these companies and confirm the right contact people. We also reached out to companies who we’d heard had shuttles.”

He added, “Over time, additional shuttle service providers and companies that offer shuttles for their employees contacted the agency to let us know that they were either providing service or considering to provide shuttle service and wanted to know about our policy development process. This also grew our list. And, as we heard about new shuttle programs, we reached out the companies to make contact. Also, at meetings with shuttle providers, we also asked if there were other providers we should include. Some members of the shuttle sector brought their legal or PR reps with them to the meetings — they were not on our list.”