In an agreement with the city of San Francisco, Google has agreed to essentially fund the "free Muni" project for the next two years. With the Municipal Transportation Agency board, Google has spoken about cutting the possibility of shutting down the program entirely - that may very well have happened if Google hadn’t stepped in. Instead, Google has donated $6.8 million to the program which will continue to fund free Muni passes for low- and middle-income youth.
In the past few months, Google has been the target of protests as bus stops have been utilized by several tech companies to shuttle workers in daily. These bus stops are the same that public busses use, this situation angering residents who blame companies like Google for rising rent in the area.
Google has not suggested directly that this donation has anything to do with the protests, but one can’t help but make the connection - even in a very basic sense - between the two. Now we’ll see if the protesters behind the bus encirclements will be a bit more lenient.
"Google is demonstrating with real action and real resources that they are a true partner in addressing our city's affordability crisis for lower and middle-income families." - San Francisco mayor Ed Lee
The free Muni program costs about $3 million a year and works with around 40,000 kids ages 5 to 17 to ride public transport without cost. This San Francisco-based deal was brokered by San Francisco mayor Ed Lee.