Like a ghost of tech-boom past, the Pets.com employee shuttle bus, which once drove Bay Area residents from the suburbs to the company's headquarters in San Francisco, is in constant motion on the streets of San Francisco. Residents all over the city report that the shuttle can disappear for months but is never really gone. They say the shuttle is still emblazoned with the company logo and an oversized caricature of the Pets.com sock puppet—a symbol of the fallen star of the dot-com era of the early 2000s.
Employees of Google and other companies who use shuttle services for transportation from their homes in the city to corporate headquarters located on the Peninsula and the Silicon Valley report that they often sense the Pets.com shuttle before they see it. Area psychiatrists report that cases of insomnia caused by Pets.com-shuttle-induced anxiety have been growing at the same rate as the Bay Area economy.
“Sometime it’s almost like this symbol of past failure—taunting all the hubris and extravagance of the current boom,” reports Rich Guy, an employee of Facebook who rides a company shuttle from his Mission condo to the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park. “Other times I just wonder if the driver is lost or avoiding going home and living with his parents in Concord, or wherever people used to live,” Guy says with a laugh.