March 17, 2016 SFTU

Commuter Bus Shuttles

AB-1641, to legalize the operation of private carriers in public bus stop, was scheduled to be heard by the Assembly Transportation Committee on March 14, but the hearing was cancelled at the request of the author, Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, after public pressure. The San Francisco Tenants Union has been opposing the use of public bus stops for private carriers.

Assemblyman Travis Allen had also cancelled AB 61, the bill to amend the California Vehicle Code to make operation of private carriers (the “Google” buses) in public bus stops legal, on January 11, 2016. About 25 organizations came out in opposition to that bill. You can see the list of opposing organizations here:

However, on the same day he introduced two more bills that would do the exact same thing that AB 61 would have done. Those bills are AB-1641 and ABX1-25. The only differences? AB 1641 and ABX1 25 are “urgency bills,” meaning they would go into effect immediately upon the governor signing either (or both) into law. However, because they are “urgency” bills, they require a two-thirds majority of both houses to pass.

Because of the opposition, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors was able to craft a deal with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors that is getting us:

  • a one year limit on the commuter shuttle program with a review after six months;
  • a limit to the number of stops that the shuttles can operate in to the current number: 125;
  • language about a study on the housing displacement impacts of the shuttles; and,
  • an agreement for the SFMTA to explore alternatives to having the shuttles operate in public bus stops.

Eight of the 11 supervisors (in their capacities as SFCTA commissioners) voted to recommend that the San Francisco County Transportation Authority oppose AB-1641. That sends a very powerful message to Sacramento: don’t interfere with our public transportation infrastructure.

And more: the lawsuit against the pilot program continues, and plaintiffs will be back in court on March 24. To follow the case, the number is CPF-14-513627 at:

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