Some retirees play bocce, or go on cruises. But Edward Mason's hobby is to catch tech buses breaking the rules, according to a report from the San Francisco Examiner. He's filed nearly 300 complaints against tech bus operators for breaking rules laid out by San Francisco's public transit agency.
Mason spots the private commuter shuttles idling too long, operating without the right placards or license plates, and going down streets they're not supposed to. These are all violations of rules agreed to in a partnership between the shuttle operators and the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority.
Since 2014, shuttle operators have paid a fee to the city to use designated public bus stops, and agreed to other rules such as tracking how many stops they make with GPS and sending travel data to the city.
The buses have stirred controversy among Bay Area residents who see the shuttles as a symbol of negative changes the booming tech economy has wrought in San Francisco and beyond. Protesters have encircled buses during morning pickups and made their grievances known to the undercaffeinated tech employees on board.
Mason's approach is focused on seeing whether tech buses follow the rules set out by the city's program. Not that he thinks that would be entirely possible.
"The plan says buses are supposed to avoid steep and narrow streets," he told the Examiner, "but what else is there in San Francisco?"