SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco’s proposal to legalize the Commuter Shuttle Program encountered a legal battle regarding the impact the buses would have on the environment. The proposal was filed with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Thursday, December 17.

The shuttle program initially began as a pilot program with large double-decker buses sponsored by major tech companies like Apple, Genentech, Yahoo, and Google. Last month, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agents’ Board of Directors voted to formally keep the commuter shuttle pilot program. 

According to an unidentified bus driver for Apple, the driver stated: “Over 5,000 Apple employees in the Bay Area take advantage of our commute alternatives program every day.” According to the driver, this increasing demand has created better working conditions for the community of shuttle bus drivers. In a report published by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority on October 5, the study indicated approximately 8,500 people utilize shuttle buses for daily commutes, which spared commuters of an estimated 4.3 million miles from driving.

Allegations have been brought to the program’s attention by the Coalition for Fair, Legal, and Environmental Transit. Attorney Rebecca Davis is representing Sue Vaughan and Bob Planthold in filing complaints against the shuttle buses. The Coalition argues the buses are a high risk for pollution due to their use of diesel fuel. The organization alleges the increased usage of shuttle buses could be a cause of major air quality contamination for neighbors around the city and violate California Vehicle Code by using public Muni bus stops illegally.

The Coalition has alleged the shuttle buses will be a major indicator of spiking rates of eviction of long-term San Francisco residents due to rent increases. The organization argues tech workers will pay more to live closer to nearby shuttle stops, which could displace tenants already living in those locations.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has had a history of rejecting environmental impact studies caused by the shuttle buses in prior years.