Forget buses, Google's using ferry boats to shuttle workers

The tech giant has begun using a catamaran service on a trial basis to transport its employees from San Francisco to its Silicon Valley campus.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
The All-American Marine Triumphant ferry is transporting workers to Google's campus on a trial basis. All-American Marine/YouTube

With Google buses being the focus of protests in San Francisco, it appears the tech giant is looking for other means to shuttle workers to its Silicon Valley campus: catamarans.

Google made a deal with a private firm to begin transporting its employees on high-speed ferries on a trial basis, according to CBS San Francisco. The catamaran to do the job, dubbed "The Triumphant," carries up to 149 passengers and will run four trips a day -- two in the morning and two in the evening. The service started on Monday.

Google confirmed the pilot program in a statement to CNET.

"We certainly don't want to cause any inconvenience to SF residents, and we're trying alternative ways to get Googlers to work," a Google spokesperson said.

Google and other tech companies have been under fire from San Francisco 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 said on Monday 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, CBS reports that Google will pay the Port of San Francisco for each ferry docking -- which is typical for all boats that use the port on a short-term basis.

Updated at 9 p.m. PT with Google statement