SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Police moved in after protesters blocked two buses in San Francisco’s Mission District Friday morning — day one of an 18-month pilot program designed to incorporate tech shuttles into the city’s mass transit commute.
These buses take people from their home to work in the Silicon Valley at Facebook, Google, Apple and other tech companies.
James Bedford has lived in the Mission for four months. Without the shuttles, he said, “I wouldn’t have a way of getting to work at the moment. I don’t have a car. I don’t think anyone here is like a bad guy, I’m still trying to understand what the issues are.”
And according to some protesters, that’s part of the problem.
“They have no connection to the community,” said protester, Judy Brady. “They know nothing about the community.”
On Friday the buses were crowding streets to avoid the protesters, but demonstrators say there’s no room for them any day. Tech workers are blamed for raising the cost of living, leading to evictions for low-income tenants.
Protesters say tech workers should live closer to their jobs.
“Rather than coming into someone else’s space, displacing them, transplanting them to where they can’t afford, and then moving in,” said Benito Santiago, who participated in Friday’s demonstration.
“I think there needs to be more of a conversation between the two sides of the class war that’s going on right now,” Santiago added.
The pilot has been six years in the making. Eleven permitted shuttles can now pick up commuters at 99 designated Muni stops in San Francisco so long as corporations pay the city $3.55 per stop.