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New Tech Money, Same Old Problems 372

Posted by Soulskill
from the those-who-don't-study-history-are-doomed-to-something-something dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Following the publication in May of George Packer's alarming article in the New Yorker revealing the state of the communities surrounding California's tech boom, the LA Times reports that despite the wake-up call, things are getting even worse in the Bay Area as tech companies seek to completely insulate their employees from ever having to interact with the real world. Quoting: 'Every weekday starting at dawn and continuing late into the evening, a shiny fleet of unmarked buses rolls through the streets of San Francisco, picking up thousands of young technology workers at dozens of stops and depositing them an hour's drive south. It's an exclusive perk offered by Apple, Facebook, Google and other major Silicon Valley companies: luxury coaches equipped with air conditioning, plush seats and wireless Internet access that ease the stress of navigating congested Bay Area roadways. The private mass transit system has become the most visible symbol of the digital gold rush sweeping this city, and of the sharpening division between those who are riding the high-tech industry's good fortunes and those who are not.'"
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New Tech Money, Same Old Problems

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  • Sooo.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @06:39PM (#44569091)

    So we're angry at rich large businesses for doing what poor public schools do? I'm confused -- why is this news?

  • Re:Allegory (Score:4, Informative)

    by MatthiasF (1853064) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @06:41PM (#44569107)
    They have the cattle chutes, too. They're called security checkpoints. Most of these companies have them and some even search you on your way out.
  • Re:Allegory (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @07:09PM (#44569375)

    "things are getting even worse in the Bay Area"?

    Who the heck is the retard who thinks it is a crime for employers to provide conveniences to employees? O, wait, it might be un-American to treat employes well. Is this schmuck an IRS agent? What is so alarming about these buses, I fail to see. I drive two miles to Caltrain station, pay $4 for parking, $16 for two way ticket, walk 1 1/2 miles to office in Downtown SF, all in all I spend two to three hours commuting. I would love my employer providing these bus rides.

  • Re:WTF perspective (Score:5, Informative)

    by asmkm22 (1902712) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @07:30PM (#44569563)

    Despite the crappy summary, the articles aren't about public transportation. So I guess, leave it to the average slashdotter to not even bother reading.

    They talk about how the big ass buses are just one of many examples of how the gab between the wealthy and the poor keeps widening in that area. They have tons of billionaires and millionaires, yet record numbers of people on food stamps. Any rental property within half a mile of the various elite bus stops is apparently going for up to twice the normal rate, effectively pushing out anyone who doesn't make a google wage.

    They also complain about how the tech people don't even get out and interact with the community that they are taking over. They order stuff online rather than go shopping at local places; they bury their noses in smartphones when walking around, etc..

    Next time, RTFA.

  • Re:Allegory (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stiletto (12066) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:01PM (#44569809)

    There is no serious public transport system between SF and the South Bay/Peninsula (or between tri-valley area and South Bay/Peninsula, or really between anywhere and South Bay/Peninsula). There's only Caltrain which is a sad joke. These companies are stepping up BECAUSE the government has failed. /Disclaimer, I do not work for a company that provides such bus service, but would love to--it's a HUGE benefit to not have to commute yourself 3+ hours to/from work

  • Re:Actually... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stiletto (12066) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:04PM (#44569827)

    The cost of living is much more than 2X, especially for housing, which can be up to 10X the cost of normal areas in the USA. When I moved out here from "flyover" land, my salary increased by about 1.5X but my cost of living practically tripled. It was not a good deal.

  • Re:This is bad. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Stiletto (12066) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @08:09PM (#44569861)

    Live closer to work? LOL. Let's see, where are these companies located? Cupertino, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park... Where STARTER homes are $1 million??? In the Bay Area it is impossible for a regular tech worker to live close to work. Your only real option is a long commute. I'd rather do it in an air conditioned bus with my laptop open than in my old beater with the fan on and my blood pressure rising...

  • Re:Allegory (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stiletto (12066) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @09:34PM (#44570363)

    Actually, fuck you with facts:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silicon_Valley_BART_extension [wikipedia.org]


    "In 2000 Santa Clara County voters approved a 30-year-long half cent sales tax increase to fund BART."

    "In 2008, to mitigate that fact, the voters were again asked to raise sales tax this time by 1/8th of one percent to come into effect when and if federal funding of the project was given the green light."

    "The project was cut into phases with service to northern San Jose at Berryessa originally planned for 2018 and to downtown San Jose by 2025 which may or may not include Santa Clara."

    So, after all these taxes, federal funding, and time, this government project has still gone nowhere, they don't plan to even be done until 2025, and even then, they will have failed to even include all the destinations they planned for.

    Meanwhile, these tech companies have given up waiting for the government to un-fuck itself, and just deployed their own damn mass-transportation system.

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @10:27PM (#44570597)
    It's a cost effective solution. They can get their employees to work on the cheap -- and they don't have to park at Google HQ which is no doubt damn near impossible.
  • Re:Actually... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Stiletto (12066) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:25PM (#44570865)

    Simple. They can't.

    Homes out here are not being purchased by middle-class families. They are being purchased by:
    * Foreign (mostly Chinese) investors
    * Hedge Funds
    * Real Estate investment trusts
    * Multiple families pooling their money (and planning on having 15 people living in a 3 bedroom house)

    If you're making 60 to 80 thousand a year, you're not even close to being able to afford a home. You're living in a 1br or studio apartment in a not-so-nice part of San Jose.

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?

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