April Fools Day in San Francisco: Acrobats block Google bus

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Acrobats and a fake Google executive turned out at 24th and Valencia streets this morning for a Google bus blockade
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY REBECCA BOWE

“Everyone say, GMuni!”

Activist “Judith Hart,” clad in corporate attire and donning thick glasses without lenses, called into a microphone as she stood on the sidewalk next to a stationary Google bus. She was there as part of a tech bus blockade staged near 24th and Valencia streets this morning (Tue/1), around 9am.

“GMuni!” The crowd chanted.

“GMuni!” Hart repeated.

“GMuni!!!” Came the enthusiastic response.

Some acrobats stood in the street nearby, blocking the bus with dance-like motions. Occasionally leaning on the front of the bus for support, they lifted yoga balls high into the air while the Google shuttle remained parked with passengers aboard, awaiting departure.

The April Fools Day bus blockade – staged by Heart of the City, a group that has blocked corporate tech shuttles several times now – was more absurdist street theatre than protest.

The prank was to hand out “GMuni” bus passes to anyone wishing to board the Google bus. Hart posed as a Google executive launching a new program to provide free transit to all. But when one of the activists tried to climb aboard, waving the pass issued by the activists, the bus driver blocked him from entering, saying it was a private bus and nobody had informed him of this new program.

Eventually, a police officer arrived and asked activists to move to the sidewalk. They complied, but when the bus drove off, it had some signs affixed to the front that activists had placed there.

The street theatre protest was meant to draw attention to today’s scheduled Board of Supervisors vote to determine whether to approve an appeal of a Metropolitan Transportation Agency pilot program to allow private shuttles to stop in Muni bus zones for a fee of $1 per stop.

The Board is scheduled to vote at 3pm this afternoon. To have your say, go to San Francisco City Hall.