Google looks to be expanding its commuter ferry boat service

While Google bus protests continue, the Web giant tests another ferry service to bring employees from the East Bay to its Silicon Valley campus.

The All-American Marine Triumphant ferry transported workers from San Francisco to near Google's campus on a trial basis last month. All-American Marine/YouTube

Just as Google's San Francisco ferry service trial ends, the company is firing up another trial on the other side of the bay -- in Alameda, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

This new service will bring Google employees from Oakland, Berkeley, and Alameda to Redwood City in a week-long trial. According to the Examiner, the Water Emergency Transportation Authority executive director Nina Rannells said that the authority "has a long-term strategic plan for expanding ferry service in San Francisco Bay," and Google's service will complement public ferry services.

A Google spokesperson told CNET, "We certainly don't want to cause any inconvenience to Bay Area residents and we're trying alternative ways to get Googlers to work."

Last month, Google made a deal with a private firm to begin transporting its employees on high-speed ferries for a month-long trial from San Francisco to Redwood City. The contracted catamaran carried up to 149 passengers and ran four trips a day -- two in the morning and two in the evening.

Google and other tech companies have been under fire from San Francisco and Oakland residents for their bus shuttle service to and from Silicon Valley. Protesters have been upset with, among other things, the rising rents due to highly paid tech workers moving into the city. There has been an incidence of raised rents and home prices around the bus pick-up and drop-off locations.

Adding to the resentment is the fact that the buses pick up passengers at stops designated for the city's official public transportation without paying the city. However, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced last month that the city would start charging the tech buses for stopping at public bus stops.

As far as paying the city for the ferry service, Google has said it will pay the Water Emergency Transportation Authority $275 per landing for the East Bay service, according to the Examiner. Google will also pay for off-site parking and a shuttle service to the ferry landing since Google employees won't be allowed to park in the ferry parking lot or neighborhood streets.

It's unclear if and when these Google ferry services will become permanent fixtures in the bay.

Update, February 5 at 12:35 p.m. PT: Adds comment from Google spokesperson.

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About the author

Dara Kerr is a staff writer for CNET focused on the sharing economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado where she developed an affinity for collecting fool's gold and spirit animals.

 

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