Google Goes into the Bus Business

In part of their effort to take over the world, Google has started its own bus company.

The perks of working at Google are the envy of Silicon Valley. Unlimited amounts of free chef-prepared food at all times of day. A climbing wall, a volleyball court and two lap pools. On-site car washes, oil changes and haircuts, not to mention free doctor checkups.

But the biggest perk may come with the morning commute.

In Silicon Valley, a region known for some of the worst traffic in the nation, Google, the Internet search engine giant and online advertising behemoth, has turned itself into Google, the mass transit operator. Its aim is to make commuting painless for its pampered workers — and keep attracting new recruits in a notoriously competitive market for top engineering talent.

And Google can get a couple of extra hours of work out of employees who would otherwise be behind the wheel of a car.

The company now ferries about 1,200 employees to and from Google daily — nearly one-fourth of its local work force — aboard 32 shuttle buses equipped with comfortable leather seats and wireless Internet access. Bicycles are allowed on exterior racks, and dogs on forward seats, or on their owners’ laps if the buses run full.

Riders can sign up to receive alerts on their computers and cellphones when buses run late. They also get to burnish their green credentials, not just for ditching their cars, but because all Google shuttles run on biodiesel. Oh, and the shuttles are free.

They must have one hell of a union. Certainly, no greedy corporation would do this kind of thing simply to attract top-notch employees.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Tano says:

    Wouldnt the more appropriate comment have been:

    “if only all those other greedy corporations had done things like this, we never would have had a need for unions”.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Tano: Sure, there were and probably are plenty of companies that aren’t particularly enlightened. OTOH, Google presumably realizes that the type of employee they need is not so interchangeable as, say, those of Wal-Mart.

  3. Wyatt Earp says:

    Hey! Wal-Mart greeters need lovin’, too!

  4. there is no more needs for a union

  5. Tano says:

    Yes James, I agree. Thats why unions are necessary for the folks at WalMart.

    If you have valuable and unique, or rare skills, then sure, you can negotiate a decent lifestyle for yourself. But all industrial economies are hugely dependent on easily replaceable workers, and the logic of the market is that they will be reduced to bare subsistence without some mechanism for collective bargaining.