Excerpts taken from Mashable.com:
San Francisco’s Google Bus protesters are bringing their message from the streets to the courtroom.
A group of activists filed a lawsuit Thursday against the City of San Francisco in an attempt to halt a tech shuttle pilot program that will allow Silicon Valley tech giants like Apple and Google to use public bus stops to pick up and drop off employees for a small fee.
The tech companies already utilize city bus stops as a way to transport employees around San Francisco and to company headquarters in the Valley, sometimes as far as 50 miles away. The 18-month pilot program was first approved by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority’s Board of Directors in January as a response to public outrage over the tech shuttles. The pilot program was later upheld by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors last month.
The program is slated to start in July, and will charge buses $1 per stop, per day to use public bus stops, a fee that has been scoffed at by activists for being too low. Public transportation in San Francisco costs $2 per rider, per trip.
Plaintiffs in the case, including the Coalition For Fair, Legal and Environmental Transit and Service Employees International Union Local Union 1021, claim that what the city is doing with the pilot program violates state laws. According to California Vehicle Code 22500, it is illegal for private vehicles to use public bus stops, a law that has been ignored by police and elected officials, according to the lawsuit.
According to state law, any new transportation project also requires an Environmental Impact Report in order to determine how transportation changes may impact the local community. The lawsuit comes exactly one month after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-2 in favor of moving forward with the pilot program without first completing an EIR.
The lawsuit is yet another step in what has become a long, difficult process for both the city and activists — And the issues go much deeper than the enforcement of a state vehicle code.