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Google offers electric shuttles for pilot program

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — Google is proposing to fund four electric shuttles that will provide free transportation to residents of Mountain View, where the technology giant is headquartered, a newspaper reported.

The two-year pilot program is expected to be approved by the Mountain View City Council in September and the buses deployed by late October, the San Jose Mercury News reported on Tuesday (http://bit.ly/1kODh1Z ).

"We're thrilled to be working with the City of Mountain View to provide neighbors a new -- and green -- way to get around town," Google's transportation manager, Kevin Mathy, said in a statement.

The proposed pilot program comes as Google and other technology companies have faced criticism and protests for running shuttle buses for their employees in San Francisco. Some residents see the buses as a symbol of neighborhood gentrification and object to their use of San Francisco municipal bus stops for $1 per stop each day.

In Mountain View, resident Amy Henderson said she thinks Google is doing "very good things" for the city.

"They have the money to keep Mountain View good-looking and safe and provide buses," said Henderson, a stay-at-home mother. "I'm totally good with that."

Google also provides free Wi-Fi in the city. In San Francisco, city officials announced in February that Google was donating nearly $7 million to allow San Francisco to continue providing free bus and other transportation services to low-income children.

The proposed shuttle buses in Mountain View would be intended to help residents get to and from recreational areas, Mountain View City Manager Dan Rich said.

"It's really about picking up a prescription, heading to the park, hopping downtown for lunch and catching an early matinee," Mountain View Mayor Chris Clark said in a statement.

The shuttles would likely run every half-hour from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and every hour on weekends and holidays from noon until 8 p.m., the Mercury News reported. The proposed routes and the cost of running the 16-seat shuttles haven't been disclosed.

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Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com

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