Google CFO: Bus Your Employees To Work

Google's chief financial officer praised his company's elaborate regional bus system Wednesday as an example of money-saving Google innovations that are not widely appreciated outside of the company.
"Take a step back and think of buses for a moment," said Google CFO Patrick Pichette during an interview this morning at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech Conference in Aspen, Colorado. "We have a huge campus in Mountain View, and if we did not have this bus system, what we would have is gridlock every morning and every afternoon, with loss of productivity for employees.
"And by the way we’d have issues about parking, amount of parking available, which would cost a ton of capital to make sure the infrastructure is there."
Pichette defended Google's bus system, which operates on 300 routes in the San Francisco Bay Area, as an example often cited by critics who accuse the company of profligate spending.
"You put buses in the formula, I reduce my capital expense, everybody’s there on time, nobody has to worry, plus the green cost, and they get wifi an hour in and an hour out."
Pichette didn't go so far as to count those extra two hours as uncompensated work time, but I thought I saw the thought hovering there.
He declined to specify how many employees of Google's Mountain View campus use the bus system, beyond saying "thousands." A 2007 New York Times article estimated the number at 1,2oo. And he declined to say what percentage of Google's 26,000 employees work at that campus.
The interview was conducted by Adam Lashinsky, a senior editor at large for Fortune, who said Google's bus system is uncontroversial and has been emulated by other companies.

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