Ever since Rebecca Solnit took to the London Review of Books to ruminate on the meaning of the private chartered buses that transport tech industry workers around the San Francisco Bay Area (she called them, among other things, “the spaceships on which our alien overlords have landed to rule us,”) the Google Bus has become the go-to symbol for discord in Silicon Valley. First a Google Bus piñata was smashed to pieces at a rally in San Francisco’s Mission district last May. Then protesters drove a fake Google Bus in the annual Pride Parade with props linking the shuttles to gentrification, eviction and displacement. By December, when activists blockaded an actual Google bus on the street, the city and media were primed for the street theater stunt heard round the world. This frenzy seemingly culminated yesterday when, following another morning blockade and protest and several hours of contentious public comment, San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Authority unanimously approved a plan to begin regulating the shuttles by requiring them to obtain a permit and pay a $1 per stop fee.
Doesn’t seem quire right. Wonder what will happen next.