Google testing ferry service from Alameda

Google testing ferry service from Alameda

Michele Ellson

Google may be expanding its private transit service for employees from the streets of San Francisco to the waters of San Francisco Bay.

The Silicon Valley search giant is conducting a trial run of a private ferry service from Alameda’s Harbor Bay ferry terminal to Redwood City and back. The ferry runs are scheduled to take place all week.

Officials with the Water Emergency Transit Authority, which operates the Bay Area’s ferry system and is working to expand it, said in a statement that they consider the test a “validation” of the importance of water transit to the region.

“WETA has a long-term strategic plan for expanding ferry service in San Francisco Bay,” Nina Rannells, the ferry service’s executive director, was quoted as saying in the statement. “The Google private ferry service can be a complement to the public service provided by WETA and other Bay Area ferry services.”

Google’s private bus service from San Francisco has generated controversy, as some have viewed the company’s gleaming, white coaches as an emblem of tech worker privilege at a time when sharply rising housing costs are forcing many to move. Others were angered by the company’s decision to use existing city bus stops without offering anything in return.

In its statement, WETA officials said Google will pay $275 each time it docks one of its ferries at one of the agency’s terminals. They said the company is providing separate, off-site parking and a shuttle for workers riding the ferry and that Google workers will not be permitted to park in the Harbor Bay ferry lot or the residential neighborhood that surrounds it.

“We are confident that the Google ferry trial will not impact San Francisco Bay Ferry operations and that there will be no impact on parking availability for our riders at the Harbor Bay terminal,” WETA spokesman Ernest Sanchez was quoted as saying in the statement.

The tech company is reportedly in the midst of a 30-day trial of ferry service from San Francisco to the South Bay.

Comments

Submitted by Jarrod (not verified) on Tue, Feb 4, 2014

Unless Alameda wants it's housing prices to skyrocket out of affordability forever, it should stop this shuttle.

Submitted by John Wong (not verified) on Tue, Feb 4, 2014

What is wrong with increasing property values?

Google is more than welcome to build a ferry from the Harbor Bay Terminal to Redwood City.

Submitted by Kae Oz (not verified) on Sat, Feb 8, 2014

I am with Jarrod. It will make me very sad when I can not afford to live here anymore. And it will be sad to see families pushed out for more techies.

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