Not to be outdone by its Mountain View rival, Facebook is following Google’s lead in testing out a new water taxi service to carry employees from San Francisco to the Peninsula twice a week.
Google just finished a 30-day test of a daily ferry service that used a luxurious charter boat to carry some of its workers from San Francisco to the Port of Redwood City, where they could hop a company shuttle bus to the Google complex in Mountain View.
Now Facebook has chartered a smaller vessel to carry up to 30 workers on a similar run, but only two days a week for the time being, according an official at the Port of Redwood City. Workers disembark there and are taking a Facebook shuttle bus to that company’s headquarters in Menlo Park. Like the Google ferry, the Facebook boat has wifi and snacks.
Tech companies are studying worker-transit alternatives at a time when their highway shuttles have been targeted by protesters, who are unhappy about the buses clogging municipal bus stops in San Francisco. Critics also see the buses as symbols of economic division, as well-paid Silicon Valley workers move into hip San Francisco neighborhoods and drive up housing prices.
Google has said it will evaluate the results of its ferry experiment before deciding whether to offer it on an extended basis. Facebook seems to have the same idea, with plans to offer the service as a 90-day trial.
“It’s positive because it does generate interest in looking at alternate forms of transit,” said Michael J. Giari, executive director at the Port of Redwood City.