Google expands employee ferry system in five-day trial run

Hoping to defuse the controversy over its employee buses that have been surrounded by protests, Google last month launched a free catamaran service to carry Google workers to and from work between San Francisco and the South Bay.

Starting Monday, for a week at least, Google will set sail with an experimental Alameda-to-Redwood City ferry route, according to the Associated Press.

The agency that operates San Francisco Bay Ferry told the AP that Google’s ferry will run between Alameda’s Harbor Bay terminal and the Port of Redwood City, but Google workers will not park in the Harbor Bay ferry lot during the five-day trial.

Last month, as Mercury News reporter Brandon Bailey reported, Google offered its employees free service aboard an 83-foot, Wi-Fi-equipped catamaran between San Francisco and the South Bay.

Google’s free employee buses, like those provided by other Silicon Valley tech companies, have been enveloped in protests by people angry at rising rental prices and mass evictions that they partly lay at the feet of the tech giants and their employees.

They also criticized the private buses for picking up and dropping off passengers in San Francisco in spots reserved for MUNI buses — and for flaunting city ordinances that levy fines of $271 per violation.

Following the bus protests in San Francisco and Oakland, San Francisco city officials reached an 18-month agreement to charge the companies hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for picking up and dropping off passengers at bus stops reserved for MUNI buses.

Google’s commuter ferry, the “Triumphant.” (Photo by All-American Marine/YouTube)

Dan Nakaso Dan Nakaso (72 Posts)

Dan Nakaso returned home to San Jose to help tell the story of Silicon Valley and the people who keep the Valley humming.