Google Buses Hurt the Environment

Gentrification makes the poor into reluctant drivers: Susie Cagle

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted May 9, 2014 1:20 PM CDT

(Newser) – Google touts the much-maligned buses that transport its San Francisco worker force as a sign of its green bona fides—after all, they keep employees' cars off the road. But in a high-profile lawsuit, activists are making the opposite argument: that the buses actually harm the environment because they foster gentrification, which displaces poor residents as housing costs go up along the bus routes. "If that sounds like an unusual take on environmental impact, it is—and it's brand-new," writes Susie Cagle at the Guardian. But she thinks it's an accurate one.

"Gentrification does have environmental ripple effects," Cagle argues. "Dense city living is better for the environment, but given private conveniences, it's becoming the exclusive realm of the rich." Poorer city workers are being forced into the suburbs, making them reluctant urban car commuters. Besides, "environmental stability in an age of climate change doesn't just mean running buses." When it comes to surviving climate disasters, "building and maintaining a resilient social infrastructure is arguably just as vital ... as building flood-proof parks." Click for Cagle's full piece.

In this June 14, 2013 photo, a Google shuttle bus arrives at 18th and Dolores streets to pick up employees in San Francisco.
In this June 14, 2013 photo, a Google shuttle bus arrives at 18th and Dolores streets to pick up employees in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/San Francisco Chronicle, Paul Chinn)
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