Monday, August 12, 2013

Environmental activism commonly doesn't have anything to do with the environment, as evidenced in this article from the environmentalist website The Grist:
The storm has brought a surge of tech-driven initiatives designed to supplant services that have traditionally been viewed as public domain... And on the streets, Google and other companies now run their own, very private version of public transit: a fleet of unmarked buses that shuttle the tech class to and from jobs at corporate campuses south of the city.

Much has been made of Silicon Valley’s private bus system lately because there is much to be made. The private shuttles ferry upwards of 35,000 workers each day between San Francisco and the sprawling tech company campuses 40-50 miles south. That’s about 35 percent of Caltrain’s ridership, and 17 percent of the number that rides the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system.

They may use the city’s public bus stops, but these are no ordinary buses. They are pure, gleaming white, unsigned and completely anonymous. Riders flash their work IDs to gain access to these luxury shuttles, each outfitted with wifi, of course.

“Sometimes the Google Bus just seems like one face of Janus-headed capitalism; it contains the people too valuable even to use public transport or drive themselves,” Rebecca Solnit wrote in an essay at the London Review of Books.
When private companies unroll programs for their employees to ride-share, simultaneously lowering congestion and CO2 emissions, they are greeted with outright hostility and anti-capitalist vitriol. This has nothing to do with the environment.
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