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Google Gives Talking Points To Employees For SF Hearing On Fate Of Employee Shuttle Buses

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A shuttle commonly known as a "Google Bus" arrives at a Muni bus stop in San Francisco to pick up commuters. (CBS)

A shuttle commonly known as a “Google Bus” arrives at a Muni bus stop in San Francisco to pick up commuters. (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Google has offered some talking points for workers in hopes that they will voice support to San Francisco officials for the continued service of their armada of private buses at a meeting Tuesday before city supervisors.

The shuttles whisk San Francisco professionals out of town to workplaces such as Apple, Yahoo and Genentech and have become the target of rage from some city residents as rents rise and demographics shift. On Tuesday, protesters blocked two buses between Mission and Market street ahead of a hearing on the long-term fate of the shuttles.

The leaked Google memo, handed out to employees who might be inclined to comment at the proceedings, included basic talking points which voiced civic pride and made statements like the following:.

— I am so proud to live in San Francisco and be a part of this community.
— I support local and small businesses in my neighborhood on a regular basis.
— My shuttle empowers my colleagues and me to reduce our carbon emissions by removing cars from the road.
— If the shuttle program didn’t exist, I would continue to live in San Francisco and drive to work on the Peninsula.
— I am a shuttle rider, S.F. resident, and I volunteer at …
— Because of the above, I urge the board to adopt this pilot plan as a reasonable step in the right direction.

According to TechCrunch, the memo was leaked by an employee who was concerned about how heavy-handed the memo seemed.

Officials are considering a deal that would allow those buses to continue operating in the city at 200 of the less heavily-used Muni bus stops in exchange for a use fee. The buses would also have to give Muni buses the right of way if they arrive at the stop simultaneously.

KCBS and KPIX 5 political reporter Phil Matier said Google’s aim is to get across two major points. “One, is that they live and work in San Francisco and they are part of the community; that they not an elite group—alien overlords as they been depicted—going in and out of the city while everyone else has to slog their way through the city streets.”

“Two, is that by not using their cars they are helping the environment and reducing traffic on the streets,” said Matier. “Those ecological concerns are always politically correct when trying to hammer home a point at City Hall.”

Matier also noted that it is not unusual for business, political or activist groups to bring supporters down to City Hall and provide them with talking points for use in a public comment setting.

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