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Google's Best Perk — Transport 342

Posted by kdawson
from the Wi-Fi-included dept.
Reverse Gear writes "The New York Times has an interesting article about how different kinds of fringe benefits are starting to count more in the fight for the best brains in Silicon Valley. The article mainly focuses on Google's high-tech shuttle-bus system, which is quite extensive, covering a majority of the San Fransisco Bay area. The article quotes a transportation expert opining that Google's may be the largest such private system anywhere. One-quarter of the headquarters employees are now using it. A Google software engineer said: 'They could either charge for the food or cut it altogether... If they cut the shuttle, it would be a disaster.'"
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Google's Best Perk — Transport

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  • by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @05:30PM (#18310186) Homepage Journal
    With the high costs and difficulty of real-estate, a Google Comune may be a good idea.
    • by houstonbofh (602064) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @05:36PM (#18310220)
      They would still need transportation. I mean who wants to live at the office? Oh, wait... This is slashdot. OK. Who ELSE wants to live at the office?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        All they have to do is build dual-use office/condo towers.

        Then people can start bitching about how long the commute takes in the morning when all the elevators start filling up.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mikael (484)
          Toronto had those - an oversurplus of office space combined with a shortage of rental units led the city to relax the zoning laws. Most office blocks already had underground/ground floor shopping malls (supermarket, fitness centre, etc...) due to the extremes of hot and cold weather. Having rented apartments as well meant that anyone could just about live their entire weekly life without ever having to go outside..

          I knew some people who had a 2 minute bus commute - they bitched about how long it took to get
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fireduck (197000)
        This isn't necessarily such a bad idea. In Irvine, the big tech center of Southern California, the Irvine Company is building luxury apartment complexes adjacent to new office space. The best part is that it's also across the street from a large retail / entertainment center. So people literally live where they can work and play. I don't see anything wrong with this idea. At least for people who chose apartment living.
        • by Goblez (928516) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @06:05PM (#18310404)

          I dont' know how wild most people are living quite so close to work. That day you *cough* call in sick *cough* and run down to get a soda or something and bump into a peer or worse yet a superior . . .

          • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 11, 2007 @06:12PM (#18310466)
            Who is also supposed to be at work, so both of you do your best to pretend that you never saw each other.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Tablizer (95088)
            I dont' know how wild most people are living quite so close to work. That day you *cough* call in sick *cough* and run down to get a soda or something and bump into a peer or worse yet a superior . . .

            Most companies are doing away with sick-only time and creating a hybrid sick/vacation day so that the employer doesn't have to verify or care whether it's an illness or the ski-bug. But, I supposse it is still an issue of you want to ditch for a ski trip during an important deadline.
            • by SRA8 (859587) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @07:01PM (#18310830)
              I used to work for a company that had combination sick/vacation days. The downside was that when people were slightly to moderately sick, they still came to work, hoping not to lose a day of vacation. Their productivity wasnt great and they got other people sick. On the positive side, they usually ended up with 25 vacation days a year, which was great, esp if you can cash out some of it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Servo (9177)
          You see this type of idea in a lot of major metro areas that have very compact urban areas. It can be a win-win-win situation. Employees have less travel to work, so less stress. Less people driving/taking mass transit for long distances so the infrastructure costs become more manageable. Increased population density so there is a reduction in urban sprawl while still letting the local tax base grow.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by goraknotsteve (648117) *
          So the geek community not known for getting their fair share of exercise have no reason to walk/cycle 15 minutes to work anymore when they can just get the elevator/company transport. My bed is three miles away from my desk which makes for an enjoyable - if often cold and damp - 30 minute round trip to work each day. There needs to be some work/life balance here and not the unhealthy aspect of living where you work.
    • by Tatarize (682683)
      Yeah, you figure Google could crank out some nice housing for the employees. With the most bad ass internet connection ever. It would cut back on the transport if they are close to Google HQ. This would honestly reduce the cost of living for all Google employees so much that their paycheck would pretty much be spending money.
    • Simpsons (Score:3, Funny)

      by istartedi (132515)

      Why not a whole town? They could even have a hammock district.

    • by eck011219 (851729) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @07:44PM (#18311104)
      Gotta be careful, though -- George Pullman did this for his railcar company here in the Chicago area in the mid- to late-1800's, and he overstepped his bounds. He ended up housing his employees in company-owned housing, paying them in company-honored chits, and basically taking people's freedoms away one at a time. I'm not suggesting that Google is doing this, but I must admit that it rings some bells. Separation from work is good, and housing owned by your company seems to put a lot of eggs in one basket. It's a one-stop shop -- get fired and evicted all in the same week!
    • This reminds me of a dream that I had one night soon after starting a job in a large company. . .

      I dreamt that I was working for a company that had a beautiful campus high on a mountain overlooking this really beautiful city.

      We each had a nice room, but we spent the vast majority of our time in the large and wonderfully appointed community rooms such as the dining room, the living rooms, the outside pool and tennis courts, and the very well appointed basement workshop.

      We lived like a large family with the s
  • Cost Cutting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by biocute (936687) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @05:34PM (#18310210) Homepage
    As a listed company, what if Google is asked by shareholders to cut costs when the inevitable "down" periods start to kick in?
    • Trimming the verge (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) * <lajollahomeless@hotmail.com> on Sunday March 11, 2007 @05:43PM (#18310272) Homepage Journal
      Google will do what all companies do: Identify the largest portion of the employee population, usually those making less than $80k/year, and will initiate a program of attrition. Yearly raises will be slashed, performance reviews will be capped, and the incoming salary offers for non-priveleged candidates (ie. everyday technological associates) will be levelled off. Middle and lower managers will receive bonuses based upon how flat they can keep their budgets and not based upon any real technological performance--maybe a more preferred stock offering will be available to managers whose budgets increase by only justified amounts. In order to maintain a good image Google, as a corporate entity, will remind incoming candidates that "We may not be able to offer the same compensation as our competitors but we do offer transportation to and from work which we see as a valuable fringe benefit which both enhances the employee paycheck and works to preserve the environment."
      • by MrShaggy (683273)
        Mod him up to a high 5 insightful. This is a great way to make sure everyone gets to work on time, not to mention some shenanigans, maybe even some tom-foolery. Yay google!
      • "We may not be able to offer the same compensation as our competitors but we do offer transportation to and from work which we see as a valuable fringe benefit which both enhances the employee paycheck and works to preserve the environment."
        What kind of compensation does Google offer? I've heard over this line and over that Google doesn't pay as well as their competitors, relying instead on these intangible perks, but how does that translate into dollars and cents?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Skreems (598317)
          The only source readily available through a search claims $35k for a sysadmin [wired.com]. Sounds pretty damn low to me.
        • I've heard over this line and over that Google doesn't pay as well as their competitors, relying instead on these intangible perks...

          I've never heard this... rather the opposite. I know a few people who went to Google, and their pay is very good, even after factoring in the high cost of living out there. In the few cases where I do know approximate numbers, Google starting salaries are (or at least were) well over Microsoft's...

    • Re:Cost Cutting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aussie_a (778472) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @05:44PM (#18310276) Journal
      Given the Google owner's hold over 50% of the shares, can anyone do anything beyond simply asking them?
      • by biocute (936687)
        While they may have the majority, if a public company is seen as incapable of adjusting according to economic trends (ie still spending big in slow economy), the share price will drop as minority shareholders start abandoning the company.
        • by Telvin_3d (855514)
          How would this actually hurt Google? I may be mistaken, but as far as I know, their share price has no affect on their income. Is any part of Google's day-to-day operations connected to their stock price at all?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TubeSteak (669689)

          if a public company is seen as incapable of adjusting according to economic trends (ie still spending big in slow economy), the share price will drop as minority shareholders start abandoning the company.

          What makes you think Google's founders care about share prices?

          Wall Street analysts have been pissed off with Google for a very long time.
          http://www.google.com/search?q=google+stock+"lack+ of+transparency" [google.com]

          My basic point is that Google decided not to play Wall Street's short term game from the very beginning

          • by synx (29979)
            People are forgetting 2 things:

            - the IPO filing prospectus said this - we are after the long term, don't expect us to optimize for short term gains.
            - A/B class structure. Google insiders hold 95%+ of the voting power
      • by thue (121682)
        Not to be pedantic, but...

        Ok, to be really pedantic, Google's owners per definition own 100% of the shares. :)

        And it is "owners", not owner's. :)
      • Google is a corporation. The corporation is run by its Board of Directors. The decision to use transport such as this is protected by the Business Judgment Rule [wikipedia.org]. In other words, unless the Board Members are violating their duty of care or duty of loyalty to Google's owners (shareholders), then no, the shareholders can't do anything beyond suggesting to the Board that this is not he best way to run the company. A "court "will not substitute its own notions of what is or is not sound business judgment."

        As s

  • by dkf (304284) <donal.k.fellows@manchester.ac.uk> on Sunday March 11, 2007 @05:36PM (#18310222) Homepage
    ... there is real mass transit so that companies don't have to invest money in doing this for themselves. This leads me to ask a few rhetorical questions: How long before Google gets together with some of the other tech companies in the area to run a shared service? How long after that before it transforms into the sort of mass transit service that people elsewhere in the world take for granted?

    Welcome to the consequences of high-density living.
    • by GregPK (991973) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @05:41PM (#18310262)
      Just think of the engineering discussions and the kinds of networking that would go on if they shared the transportation system. Intel employees could bounce ideas off of google ones creating a rather good synergy for building up servers, etc.. Really I don't know what company wouldn't want thier employees on that bus especially if google was a potential customer for them.
      • In order to obtain your pass to ride the shared corporate transit system you will need to sign an NDA which amounts to "silence must be kept at all times". Video and audio recorders mounted within the bus will ensure that employees who have displeased their managers will be fired for saying "Bless you" when someone sneezes while employees who "give it up" to their management will be allowed to trade hot stock tips and infrastructure design improvements with their peers from other companies.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 11, 2007 @05:57PM (#18310364)
          YEAH!

          AND: The impoverished outside the bus will smash bottles of gin and pick-me-up against the iron grill mesh on the side of the bus windows, while gigantic silhouettes against the acid rain clouds will give away the positions of robotic helicopters search for we three-- we three freedom fighters, who will be crouching along, beneath the ground, within the sewers, with only 5 mag-guns, 2 cheap laptops, and a crazy lost child known only as "Mic," who may-- JUST MAY-- hold the secrets to ending this nightmare, locked within... ...her broken mind.

          Google Corp, and all you other wretched Corps, ... you just watch your back.
      • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @07:18PM (#18310942) Journal
        Qualcomm would not want their employees on this bus. Any company that considers their intellectual property to be their most valuable asset (as Qualcomm does) would not want ideas traded on the bus.
    • by aussie_a (778472)
      While ever they're only one of the few companies doing it, Google will want to keep the price of doing it as high as possible as it will be a perk. However once it becomes a standard feature of employment, then you'll see Google and other companies banding together and most likely eventually opening it to the public.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NoodleSlayer (603762)
      This is *NOT* simply a mass transit system though. These busses are much more posh then you'd see in any public transit system, and are equipped with things like WiFi.

      And considering the paranoid security climate around the valley, there's a good chance that no two companies would agree to share a shuttle service like that simply because they'd be too worried about company secrets leaking. And Google isn't the only company that has services like this, Apple has some shuttles available for employees that liv
    • ... there is real mass transit so that companies don't have to invest money in doing this for themselves.

      Amen to that. Alas, Americans think mass transit is evil.

      How long before Google gets together with some of the other tech companies in the area to run a shared service?

      Lots of SV companies sponsor shuttles, either jointly or on their own. Google's is the first one I've heard of that is so popular. The other shuttles are less ambitious; mostly they bridge the gap between the local train station and the

      • Amen to that. Alas, Americans think mass transit is evil.

        Here's the thing with mass transit. I've lived in a variety of areas, from honestly rural (and I don't mean exurban, I mean rural), to highrise ferret cages, and most of the opposition to mass transit is in the suburbs or low-density urban areas.

        The objection is pretty simple: if you bring mass transit into an area, it decreases the cost of living, because it no longer means you need to own a car. That means more people, particularly low-income people who might consume more services than they pay in (local) taxes, and thus it's a Bad Thing. There's also a lot of latent racism tied up in it, too, particularly if you have predominantly white suburbs lying outside urban areas with substantial non-white populations. But in my experience the racial influence is somewhat overstated; I'd say the single biggest factor that really scares suburbanites is that public transport will bring out young, low-income families who will overtax the public school systems (which as anyone who's lived in one of these places can attest to, are the centers of political and social power). Any proposal that might somehow negatively impact schools is a No-Go.

        I've seen suburban and exurban 'bedroom communities' fight absolutely tooth and nail to keep out bus services, in particular. (Rail services seem to engender less opposition -- perhaps because you generally still need a car in order to get to the train station, so therefore it's less offensive.) Until you've seen one of these disputes in person, it's tough to appreciate the tenacity with which people will fight what seems at first glance to be a common-sense, win-win proposal. I've seen people pitch absolutely brilliant transportation schemes at local town council meetings, without realizing the minefield they were walking into, and that they were doomed from the beginning by factors essentially outside their control.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hey! (33014)
      In saner parts of the world, private companies aren't asked to provide health insurance for their employees.

      Here in the US, we expect private companies to provide health insurance, which has a host of evil effects on employees and employers. Employees get stuck in a job if they get sick, for fear of losing insurance. Employers end up fighting with employees over health benefits. More often than not when there is a big labor dispute, it's over health insurance.

      In a global economy, when you produce in the
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ucblockhead (63650)
      Oddly enough, the San Francisco Bay Area probably has one of the better mass transit systems in the country. It is far, far from perfect, though, and is designed primarily to shuttle people into San Francisco. It's easy for people like me, in the East Bay, to commute to downtown San Francisco by train. But it'd be near impossible for me to do that to Silicon Valley as it'd require changing from one train to another, with the stations being two miles apart.

      The other interesting thing is that what Google i
    • ... there is real mass transit so that companies don't have to invest money in doing this for themselves.
      Right, so of course, the rest of the population should subsidise business transport instead? Public transport is useless for 85%-90% or so of journeys, it's a bad deal for the vast majority of the population.

       
    • How long 'til non-employees can purchase a monthly transit pass? Mega-Corps offering programs that would traditionally be taken care of by local government remind me of the idea put forth in Stephenson's "Diamond Age" . Where corps have become city-states that you work for/subscribe to.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)
      I suppose it would be flamebait on Slashdot to point out that Microsoft does exactly this.

      They have a simple shuttle system for employees to move around the campus (and servicing some off-campus business parks, as well), and they give FTEs passes to the local public transit system. Moreover, they've been doing this for longer than Google's even been around. Of course, Microsoft isn't as trendy, so they don't get breathless news stories pretending that it's something new.
  • Smart move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 26199 (577806) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @05:37PM (#18310228) Homepage

    I'm sure lots of professionals feel the pain of a daily commute. Anything that improves it is a fairly major perk.

    Obviously the next step is to found the Googleopolis... or perhaps just purchase an existing city outright...

  • by aussie_a (778472) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @05:40PM (#18310248) Journal
    Google is quite good with this in how environmentally friendly it is. However company(s) in Australia not that long ago would pay for taxis to and from work that would go directly to your house. They were just normal taxis that were free for you. I don't know how wide-spread this practice was, I imagine it wasn't too widespread, but I do know of at least one Australian company that did it. So while its good that Google does it nowadays (as I believe the company has since stopped), its a shame services like this are unusual rather then the norm.
    • The only hassle with Google is that you need to show up to make use of all their other perks.

      With a broadband connection you can work from home just as easily as from a cube. I've been doing that for years as an employee. As a moonlighting consultant I often work for people I have never seen in countries I have never been to.

      • by pvera (250260)
        I was trying to explain the same thing to a former boss, who was calling me to see if I was interested in a government contract more than 20 miles across town.

        I telecommute at least 80% of the week, and I get paid right on the median for my field and experience, plus quarterly bonuses based on billables, not on performance appraisals. What is my motivation to jump ship for the same amount of money but driving across the DC beltway almost 50 miles each day?

        Screw that.
    • Back when I was 17 my mom hooked me up with a job at ScotiaBank ($10/hr writing perl scripts for some old AIX servers). They had a contract with a local taxi company and they gave out taxi slips to anyone who needed a ride, it was a pretty sweet perk. They also ran shuttle buses between the local office and the main ScotiaBank plaza downtown for employees that had meetings downtown, etc..
  • by BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @05:47PM (#18310304) Journal
    I want to work for Google!
  • Tax status? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Sunday March 11, 2007 @05:48PM (#18310312) Journal
    I'm guessing that part of the reason is due to taxes. That is, employees don't have to count the "value" of the bus service as income, so it's not taxed. So if the bus service costs $500/employee-year and their effective marginal tax rate is 35% (state, local, fed, SS), as long as the bus service is better than $325/year in additional pay, it's a good deal.
    • by hankwang (413283) *

      So if the bus service costs $500/employee-year

      It's probably way more expensive than that. In Europe, you would pay around EUR 1400 per year as an individual for a 30 km commute in ordinary public transport. (I checked Netherlands and Sweden) A quick check at the Caltrain website suggests that something equivalent in California would be $1200 per year. Now I don't know how the government subsidizes public transport and how exactly that would compare to Google setting up their own transport (roads are also

      • Surprisingly, not really. Public transit involves a great deal of overhead in terms of planning and deployment and development of a reliable schedule. The vehicles themselves are extremely expensive (a single mass transit bus can cost upwards of $300,000), and because of their size, you need a large central garage to store them, along with massive maintenance bays with costly equipment. There are also insurance concerns and the need to build street-side stops (or terminals).

        A corporate fleet of vehicles
  • moo (Score:4, Informative)

    by slothman32 (629113) * <.pjackso5. .at. .rochester.rr.com.> on Sunday March 11, 2007 @05:57PM (#18310360) Homepage Journal
    Here in Rochester, where Kodak is located, we have Kodak Park.
    It's a huge area with it's own rail system.

    Today with digital they have less a presence but it still does alot of stuff.

    I don't know about the costs or perks of it though.
  • by aiwarrior (1030802) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @05:58PM (#18310368)
    Geeks never got the chance of enjoying a good school bus trip without beeing mocked or running after the bus(look at peter parker). Now they want to get that part of teenagehood they were denied. Google is also putting hot chicks that actually want to sit with a geek, and thats why it aint cheap! Hail google the shuttle overlord.
  • Great News (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cocoshimmy (933014) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @06:09PM (#18310444)
    Hopefully this means what the author is suggesting: That in the future a shuttle service will become an essential part of the benefits package offered by large employers. Imagine if other major employers such as Microsoft, Boeing, AMD and others implemented such programs in areas with otherwise high traffic like Seattle, Austin, and of course the SF bay area? It would reduce stress for everyone, alleviate traffic, reduce the demand and price for gas, reduce air pollution (and as a result health care costs), and make people realize that mass transit is a viable option for North America.
    • Microsoft has done this for more years than Google has been around--sans trendy biodiesel.
    • Any MSFT employee can ride Metro Transit buses for free. There's a "Flex Pass" thing that FTEs get every year from the receptionist. The buses are just regular buses, nothing fancy and in 6 years that I've spent at Microsoft I haven't used one once. Traffic isn't really that bad around there, and I lived 15 minutes away anyway.
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      Microsoft has a shuttle system that services their entire campus, including some buildings outside of the main campus. Plus they pay for the bus for employees. Same as the Google system, except not as snobby and exclusive.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by p0tat03 (985078)

      Instead of everyone running their own private shuttles, hopefully what this means is that we will see collaboration to fund a comprehensive public transport system that is ubiquitous and truly competitive with private transport.

      In too many cities bus and rail service is so poor that it is mainly reserved for the poor and those with no other choice. I have lived and worked in many cities whose transit systems take after this model. It is incredibly discouraging and hypocritical - to harp about the environm

  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by Limecron (206141) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @06:10PM (#18310448)
    We don't get French benefits?
  • At some point... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rindeee (530084) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @06:26PM (#18310568)
    ...doesn't it become a better idea to simply move Googleplex to a new location that isn't overcrowded, overpriced, etc.? Perhaps (in all seriousness) Google could move the headquarters to a more rural location. Employees could afford to live in mansions? Could drive to work without rush hour, etc. COMMS shouldn't be an issue...just run some fiber. Shoot, Google owns half the dark fiber (exaggerating of course) in the country anyway. Anyway, just thinking out loud.
    • by ximenes (10) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @06:31PM (#18310624)
      Yes, that would be great for working. However, a large part of the allure of working somewhere like Silicon Valley is the non-work components of the area. Actual culture somewhere nearby, other businesses that you like to shop at (or go work at if your job sucks), and so on. Plus Google has a steady stream of employees they can steal from other nearby businesses, and they're near businesses that they want to work with.

      This is one reason why Gateway is not located in North Dakota anymore. This is why technology companies in particular all seem to clump together in a few locations. The companies themselves find value in it, and their employees (being generally well-educated and to a degree able to be more selective than some other industries) want to live in places that they actually like rather than, lets say, North Dakota.
    • Yes...and 80% of their employees would not follow, but would instead take jobs at Yahoo.
  • by dancingmad (128588) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @06:27PM (#18310572)
    As an interesting side note, the Michael Gaiman they quote is the son of author Neil Gaiman [neilgaiman.com] (The Sandman, Neverwhere, American Gods, etc.). I read the article and was surprised, because Neil mentioned his son choosing Google over Apple a month or two back on his blog. Sure enough, visited his blog after reading it and it is indeed him.
  • You don't think the best perk might be say... the hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock options employees received pre-IPO? If you gave some employs the choice between these additional perks vs. the true cost in cash, I bet you'd find many people choosing the cash instead. Besides, my guess is some Google employees use these services disproportionately to others.
  • I don't want perks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jlarocco (851450) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @07:11PM (#18310888) Homepage

    Am I the only person who doesn't want perks? I want three things from work: the ability to do my job, more pay, and less time there. If an employer wants to show their appreciation, they can increase my pay, let me work fewer hours, or both.

    I expect an adequate computer, comfortable chair, comfortable desk, and a private cubicle/office. Those are things that help me focus on getting my job done. I don't consider them perks, I consider them mandatory for getting work done.

    Besides that, I want to have as little to do with my employer as possible. I don't want a company car, I don't want a company shuttle, I don't want a company apartment, I don't want free food, I don't want free beverages. I want to work my 40-45 hours a week, then go home and forget about work completely.

    • by hankwang (413283) * on Sunday March 11, 2007 @07:38PM (#18311074) Homepage

      I don't want a company car, I don't want a company shuttle, I don't want a company apartment, I don't want free food, I don't want free beverages.

      If you value money more than perks, how about this? You have a commuting distance of 20 mi. By using the shuttle you save about $1000/year on fuel and 200 hours/year on driving. The shuttle might be comparable in time to driving yourself since it uses the carpool lanes. And rather than just stare at the car in front of you, you can check your email, surf the web, read a book, or take a nap. Of course, some people love to drive, but for others using the commuting time for other purposes might be worth $10 per hour (or whatever). For this example, a shuttle service that costs the employer $2000 per year could have a value of $3000 per year for certain employees, while the alternative was that the employer paid $2000 extra salary (minus taxes).

      Similar for the food. You have to eat anyway. If they raise your salary and cut the free meals so that you can buy your own lunch you might very well end up with the same money in your wallet but with a tray of fast food rather than a decent meal.

      Finally, it is in the interest of the employer to create an atmosphere where the employees feel part of a big happy family rather than that everyone is just minding their own business.

    • Am I the only person who doesn't want perks? I want three things from work: the ability to do my job, more pay, and less time there. If an employer wants to show their appreciation, they can increase my pay, let me work fewer hours, or both.

      I'm mostly the same way. I don't mind the perks, but push it even slightly too far and it becomes more of a negative than a positive. Maybe I'm just too cynical, but often I regard perks as an attempt to buy my loyalty with trinkets. At best, perks are usually somet

  • by xrayspx (13127) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @08:42PM (#18311438) Homepage
    There is problem...

    Sorry.
  • by squarooticus (5092) on Sunday March 11, 2007 @09:10PM (#18311586) Homepage
    This is the way shared transit should be: discriminatory.

    Part of the reason I hate public transit is the other people on the bus/train/plane with me: there are the ones who smell, the ones who talk to themselves, the ones who start ranting, the ones who panhandle, and the ones who won't fucking shut up and let me read.

    If you discriminate on the basis of employment, you are likely to eliminate most of these bad behaviors, maybe with the exception of the ones who talk to themselves. Oh, and maybe smelling, depending on how many engineers there are on the bus. :)

    In all seriousness, though, this makes the concept of shared transit palatable. I stopped taking the commuter rail after an incident in which a strung-out druggie was "escorted" off the train at the cost of over an hour. And you know what? Because it's public transit, that same person can get back on the train and cause problems the very next time she is freed from jail/rehab again.

    Forget how you've been brainwashed. Discrimination on some criteria is good.

    Finally, I should throw in a point about how this transit is entirely voluntary. There is no robbery (i.e., taxation) involved in paying for it. Google does it because they have determined that it is probably making them more profitable. If the experiment succeeds, other tech companies will probably start doing the same thing, perhaps even combining efforts. And it doesn't cost me a penny that I don't choose to spend. Contrast this with public transit in Boston, for instance, where the fare pays only 1/4 of the actual cost of the system, the rest being stolen from the taxpayers of Boston, Massachusetts, and the rest of the US (in decreasing degrees) at the point of a gun.

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.

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