The incident occurred on Monday, Nov. 6. on Castro and 20th in the Eureka Valley neighborhood, at around 8:45 a.m. The Google bus reportedly lost power while navigating the steep incline of Castro Street's hill. This caused the bus to roll backward, colliding with several cars. (Related: Jackson, Wyoming, bought 8 electric buses for its public transit system … NONE of them are currently operational.)
Resident Xian Ke initially reported the incident and posted about it on the social media platform X. "Some local journalists need to be on this," he wrote. "A Google bus lost its power while going up the hill and roll back and hit nine cars this morning outside of my place [in the Castro District]."
Videos shared of the incident show a gray double-decker bus with "100% Battery Electric" displayed on its side with at least four other vehicles damaged right next to it. A tree was also damaged after an SUV collided with it after being hit by the bus.
San Francisco residents also took to social media to report on the incident, with several complaining about how the police shut down Castro Street because of the crash and other eyewitnesses confirming that "a tech bus plowed down the hill backward through a bunch of traffic."
Reports received from eyewitnesses by the San Francisco Municipal Transport Agency (SFMTA) also suggest that the Google electric bus's brakes failed, leading to the crashes.
The SFMTA has confirmed that the accident took place and that it affected the San Francisco bus line that ran through the neighborhood. However, despite the chaos, the SFMTA claimed that services to the neighborhood were restored to full operation by that afternoon.
Some local journalists need to be on this: “A google bus lost its power while going up the hill and roll back and hit 9 cars this morning outside of my place” (Castro district, SF). Video from my friend below. pic.twitter.com/B8T8K2RCD2
— Xian Ke (@xianke) November 6, 2023
The San Francisco Police Department said it is still investigating the incident and has not come to a final determination on the cause of the crash. The investigation will continue as the department asks anyone from the public with information to come forward.
Officers who responded to the incident found that the commuter bus had severe rear-end damage and caused major damage to at least four other vehicles.
A spokesperson for Google confirmed to local CBS affiliate station KPIX that the bus was part of the company's shuttle fleet and that it was investigating what happened.
"The safety and wellbeing of everyone involved is our highest priority while we work with local authorities to understand what happened," said Google.
The accident not only caused physical damage to several cars and public infrastructure but also left at least one individual with injuries severe enough to require hospitalization. The specifics of the injuries have not been disclosed, and the police have refused to comment on it.
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