Google Inc (GOOG): What More It Should Do In San Francisco?

Google Inc (GOOG): What More It Should Do In San Francisco?
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Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) buses have been targeted many times by San Francisco protesters. So much so that the company had to add security guards at San Francisco bus stops, and start a free ferry service for its employees. Protesters consider Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and other tech companies’ buses as elitist. They argue that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) employees who might otherwise live in or near Mountain View live in San Francisco due to the buses.

Tussle between Google and protesters

The influx of tech workers has pushed up rent prices in the city. Protesters have also voiced against Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and other tech companies using public bus stops, making public transport system more crowded. San Francisco city recently announced that it will now charge tech companies for using municipal bus stops. Some protesters say the charges are too low at just $1 per stop per day.

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On the other hand, experts say that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and many other technology firms are doing very best thing for the city. People are going to live in San Francisco anyway. If they don’t have a shuttle service available, most of them are simply going to drive. According to a statement by San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, about 35,000 tech workers use private shuttle services every day. That means fewer cars on the road and less traffic. If all of them were to drive cars to work, they city would face massive traffic issues.

Moreover, fewer cars mean less pollution. A new study has found that pollution in China travels across the Pacific ocean to blanket the West Coast. The Chinese pollution adds an extra day of smog in many West Coast cities every year.

Can Google do more?

However, Karyne Levy of Business Insider says that there are a few more things that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and other tech firms can do for San Francisco:

  1. The search engine giant can encourage other companies to provide free shuttle services. Genentech, which was the first company to offer free shuttle service, says that its employees have saved more than 100 million driving miles since it initiated the program in 2006.
  2. If the Mountain View-based company wants, it can build its own bus stops and stop using the public system entirely. That’s possible.
  3. Many people commute to their jobs in the South Bay using public buses because their employers don’t offer shuttle services. It would be great if Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) figures out a system that allows such employees to use shuttles.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares skidded 0.13% to $1,162.67 at 10:33 AM EST.

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  1. That is silly. None of these three things proposed would make protesters happy. On the contrary, convincing more companies to use shuttles would see even more tech workers living in SF, which would make the rents rise even more.

    What protesters want is that Google stop offering free shuttles to employees. Some of them would move out of SF, and the others would have to use their cars, augmenting traffic congestion, and thus discouraging further tech workers to come live in SF. Then, rents would go lower and become more affordable.

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