The Trend Behind Shuttling San Francisco to Silicon Valley

by Nick Trenchard | December 19, 2012

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Shuttling workers to Silicon Valley is becoming increasingly popular for San Francisco techies and the new trend could be shifting the very nature of the live-work life in the Bay Area.

Dozens of big name companies, including Apple, Facebook, Google and Yahoo, are expanding the reach of their workforce by offering their employees the opportunity to live in the culturally-rich, urban friendly San Francisco area and transiting them (for free) to the heart of Silicon Valley where the biggest and brightest job offerings are.

“Fundamental shifts are underway in the relationship between San Francisco and Silicon Valley,” it says on San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association’s website. “Historically, workers have lived in residential suburbs while commuting to work in San Francisco.

“For Silicon Valley, however, the situation is reversed: many of the largest technology companies are based in suburbs and relatively far from mass transit. Thus, an alternate transportation network of private buses threads daily through San Francisco where a majority of their workforce lives, completing a daily cycle of picking up workers at a series of unmarked bus stops, and then carries them via the commuter lanes of the 101 and 280 freeways to and from their tech campuses.”

The shuttle buses, which transport at least 14,000 employees per day, are an enormous benefit for all involved. Not only are employees absolved of driving up and down the peninsula everyday (60 to 80 miles roundtrip), but most buses offer free Wi-Fi, which enables workers to start their busy workdays as soon as they step onto the bus.

Moreover, the shuttle service also relieves a bit more traffic congestion on both the Caltrain (which also connects San Francisco to Silicon Valley) and the southbound freeways. The result has gotten a nod of approval from various transportation and environmental groups.

So with the drastic uptick of businesses offering a shuttle bus service, it appears that San Francisco is becoming the popular choice for workers to lay their head at night. And with that number of San Francisco-based Silicon Valley employees on the rise, it could not only alter the Bay Area’s public mass transit system, but change the complexion of the big city’s inhabitants.

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