Google Shuttle is No Match For Our Hills

I seems as though one of Google's shuttles found itself stuck at the bottom of 23rd and Chattanooga this weekend, suggesting the company's salad days are behind them.

Anyway, here's a video of the community's doomed attempt to get the whale off the beach:

[Photo by Jim Greer]

Comments (37)

Even the Jethro with his pickup truck couldn’t budge that behemoth. Maybe they should have begged the geeksters to get off the bus to lighten the load(?)

We all hate bloatware

They are wrecking the streets,causing potholes due to the extreme weight not to mention the texting driver that blew off a stop sign and nearly hit my neighbor last week. Get them OUT of the neighborhood streets!!

How is this different from Muni?

Really Chuck ?

Can google just move to soma christ sake?

better yet, they can outsource all their work to India and China.

Google already has offices in SOMA, which (according to rumors) will be expanded at some point soon.

No surprise here. Keep in mind that these shuttle drivers are the same people who think a full-length coach can take the right turn from the Monterey exit on 280 to go to BART without almost killing everyone in Glen Park.

Apparently, Google has not figured out that large tour buses should avoid steep hills. (Well, Google Streetview does not properly picture steep grades anyway.) Also it takes a larger vehicle than a pickup truck to tow a tour bus. Have you seen the tow trucks used to tow buses, they’re rather large, being the type that can tow semi-trucks (like a Peterbuilt).

Unlike Boston and Toronto, San Francisco couldn’t convert its trolley buses to CNG power because they can’t make it up The City’s hills.

In The City, CNG buses are evil. Sorry, Google…

Converting SF’s trolley busses to CNG would be going backward in every respect. Dirtier power, louder, more maintenance. We should be expanding the trolley system.

I love how these shuttles pick up passengers at MUNI stops but refuse to pull in. This pretty much leads to a nice morning commute backup especially on Cesar Chavez with the construction. I’d almost prefer the thirty extra cars… Or better yet, why don’t they LIVE closer!

or better yet, google can outsource all the google kids’ jobs to India and China.

Why do Google and Genentech use these huge busses? I don’t think I’ve ever see one that is even HALF full. They are a waste and a traffic hazard. It would be cheaper and more environmentally responsible for Google to buy commuter passes for their employees.

The huge-ass, two-thirds empty buses are symbolic of how the Silicon Valley gold rush boom/bust machine has devastated the Bay Area working class.

I’m only half joking.

There are a number of good reasons.
- It takes 40-60 minutes to commute via GBus; CalTrain would take about an hour and a half, if you live near the station.
- GBuses stop all over the city. There is only one SF CalTrain station and it’s far from many people’s homes.
- GBuses have wifi and privacy so employees can work without worrying about people looking over their shoulder.
- You only need maybe 4 passengers on the bus to make it more environmentally-friendly than the cars that would otherwise be on the roads.

At the top of this hill one sign says Sharp Crest the other Trucks Not Advised (means Huge Buses too)

Yes, I’m actually surprised it didn’t get stuck at the top of the block instead of the bottom.

I live on this street. I like Google buses. I used to work at the Googleplex. I rode CALTrain because we didn’t have Google buses then. I liked CALTrain even with all its weirdness. But if I used Muni, it took longer to get to CALTrain at 22nd than it did to get to Mt. View. The Google bus exists because of the failure of Muni and CALTrain together. I am glad CALTrain allowed bikes to solve the Muni problem, but I would probably ride the Google bus today if I had to make that commute. I would not prefer 30 more cars on 101.

I don’t like this bus on this street. That’s a failure of the driver to read the sign.

will the busses go away when caltrain finally extends into the fidi nearer to bart? would a lack of busses really generate more cars, or perhaps instead encourage people to live closer to caltrain? why not run (smaller qua ucsf) shuttles to caltrain and show muni how to do it better instead of running busses all the way down the peninsula? does diverting potential public transit riders to private transit further contribute to the underfunding/low ridership numbers downward spiral for public transit making schedules even less frequent/reliable and further contributing to making it even more difficult for those of us who are lower class/work at companies without the money or size to run their own private transportation system?

Q. will the busses go away when caltrain finally extends into the fidi nearer to bart?
A. I suppose the bus from 4th and King to Market street will go away. Wait, isn’t that the T?

Q. would a lack of busses really generate more cars, or perhaps instead encourage people to live closer to caltrain?
A. Yeah. Both would be true.

Q. why not run (smaller qua ucsf) shuttles to caltrain and show muni how to do it better instead of running busses all the way down the peninsula?
A. I’ve been asking Muni for an express bus down Cesar Chavez to 22nd Street station for years. I know what a blank stare looks like. Would someone join me in this? As for running buses to CALTrain, SGI and Adobe did that in the nineties to their campuses in Mt. View. Was anyone watching? Yeah, Google. So, you see what they thought of that system.

Q. does diverting potential public transit riders to private transit further contribute to the underfunding/low ridership numbers downward spiral for public transit making schedules even less frequent/reliable and further contributing to making it even more difficult for those of us who are lower class/work at companies without the money or size to run their own private transportation system?

A. Um, do I look like a Freakonomics guy? Theoretically, there’s no difference between public transit and private transit in this scenario. I think the real difference is that Muni is built on a model of San Francisco in the 50s and that didn’t work for Google, Genentech, eBay, Yahoo, etc. In this case, the private transit option is way more flexible and responsive than the public transit system. CALTrain is more fuel efficient per passenger mile (I think) than the buses, but that calculation is really hairy when you consider all the permutations. There’s your Ph.D. dissertation, young economist! I suspect that having a bus that goes exactly to your workplace that stops within walking distance of your home is hard to beat.

Yes, it would be great to restructure society around transit hubs. It only took us a generation or two to screw it up as badly as we have. Start now! Fix it. Go, baby, go. We can do it. Si, se puede. Drill, baby, drill… wait, wrong cheer.

You’ve got a big hill to climb. Public transportation isn’t really a substitute for the google shuttles today, and there are many practical problems to overcome to get it there.

Even living right at caltrain, even taking express trains, it’s probably going to be a longer commute for many people. I don’t see how increased investment in muni, caltrain or the vta is likely to help that. You need faster trains and/or more direct routes, both of which have huge NIMBY objections to overcome all along the peninsula.
And that’s assuming you can convince a lot of googlers to live next to caltrain. Good luck with that :). If it came to that, I’d probably move to east bay if it meant keeping my shuttle ride.

Oh, and caltrain doesn’t have wifi.

By the way, the mountain view caltrain stop and surrounding areas would need significant expansion to accommodate the increased google commuter traffic. And that means… you guessed it… more NIMBYs. SF doesn’t have a monopoly there.

I like the Google buses. They are understated in advertising, and share the road.

But the pickup truck pulling on the bus does not look Google level smart. duh.

imagine the havoc that would be wrecked on the rental market if google moved their shuttle stops to more localized spots like Muni stops. can’t help but giggle at that the possibilities.

A Google bus driving around on a weekend? Shuttles don’t run on the weekend so there’s nobody in there so the salad days aren’t really over are they?

And the shuttles are full once they get to work. They’ve got a few stops to make but trust me. All the seats are full once they make it to the Googleplex.

employees can use the buses on the weekends for personal use. most likely driver was on a route he never drove before, probably didn’t even know there was a steep hill.

Up yours Google. Get out of the city

If only they had Googled bus stuck or used a Google Map.

The jerks that drive the buses think they own both sides of the road on every street near google. luckily it’s low traffic out there anyway.

The reality is, there are many companies busing employees from the both San Francisco and Berkeley to their campuses in Silicon Valley. We should pool their money and get a better regional transit system and better city planning, requiring job centers be close transit.

The problem is that Google doesn’t want to substitute transit service for its buses. It sees time on its buses as essentially worktime. Also using transit might mean that Google employees “fraternized with the enemy,” like employees from Yahoo or Facebook or whatever company. Google does not want that.

Having a long distance, basically point to point quasi-transit service like this is OK, it’s a tough market for transit to serve. But they need to use appropriate vehicles on appropriate routes–that’s why there are transit planners. And Google in SoMa would be better for the environment, yes, there would be a lot less car travel overall.

The Google buses cause some congestion, but what causes more Noe Valley congestion is the number of a##$o!3s that double park their cars or delivery trucks on 24th street, OR the idiots who can’t understand that if they can’t pull into the Whole Foods lot, they should move on instead of just idling in the street, waiting for a spot to free up.

At least the buses move along after picking up passengers, no worse a delay than being being a Muni bus. Why doesn’t the city start writing citations for all the double parkers and raise some money for local government?

Just because you want a cup of coffee doesn’t mean you get to double park and just “run in”. Block someone’s driveway if you can’t find a spot, at least that only inconveniences 1 person, not the whole neighborhood.

Seconded. Double-parkers also huge problem on Mission St, especially.

Good posting.

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