Tech Bus Protestors Target Island City
Commuters who used the High Street Bridge on April Fools’ Day found themselves tangled in a protest that had little to do with the shenanigans some expect on that special day. Instead they were witnessing a protest that involved a pair of buses taking employees to Silicon Valley giants Apple and Google.
Protesters had targeted “Google buses” in Oakland and San Francisco before. The April Fools’ Day escapade marked the first time they had visited Alameda, focusing their efforts on buses on the way to the Park & Ride on Island Drive next to the Grandview Pavilion.
The protesters knew that the “Apple bus” would cross the High Street Bridge at 7:30 a.m. and that the “Google bus” would arrive at 7:45 a.m. The protesters split up: One group held up the Apple bus until the Google bus showed up and then corralled them both. Another group went to the Park & Ride and handed out fliers to people waiting for their rides to work.
They blocked the buses until about 8:15 and let them go without breaking any windows or doing anything else untoward.
About 9:30 a.m., protesters blocked a Google bus at 24th and Valencia streets in San Francisco. They handed out “Gmuni” passes. Some of the protesters tried to board the Google bus with these passes. They later told reporters that the bus driver pushed one of their number armed with a Gmuni pass off the bus.
The protestors likely picked April 1 because that afternoon the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to allow the Apple and Google buses to use the Muni bus stops for a fee of $1 for each time a bus uses a stop.
The following day, April 2, protesters blocked a bus carrying Yahoo! employees at the MacArthur BART station. On April 3 they blocked buses at the West Oakland BART station.
Most of these protesters were acting under the umbrella of “Defend the Bay Area," a group staging a series of protests that started March 28 and ran through April 5.