Bay Area Traffic
Google using ferry boats to shuttle employees to work
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Google has now contracted a catamaran ferry to shuttle workers from San Francisco to Redwood City where charter busses await their arrival to then take the workers to Google headquarters in Mountain View.
It's a new venture and the Port of San Francisco said they were excited to get the call from Google and hope more companies will try this out.
The ferry holds 149 people. About 20 to 30 people took advantage of riding the ferry Wednesday morning.
Two will leave the Ferry Building each morning.
This is in response to the negative reaction some in San Francisco have had to the charter buses Google uses to get its employees from the city to Silicon Valley.
The influx of private shuttle buses, which transport thousands of workers to their jobs, have created traffic problems on the city's narrow streets, blocking public bus stops during peak commute hours. They also have become a symbol of economic inequality for people concerned about the tech industry's impact on the area's rising housing costs.
Protesters have blocked buses in the city's Mission District, a popular tech employee neighborhood where the shuttles are prevalent. In Oakland, protesters broke the window of a Google shuttle bus.
Protesters have been upset that the buses use Muni bus stops and Google and other companies have agreed to pay the city a fee to use those stops, but now Google is taking another alternative by using the water instead of the highways.
"They came to us. They presented a plan. They're a well-funded company obviously. They have a great boat that was certified by the coast guard and they want to do a 30-day trial which started on Monday and so far we've seen a fair amount of employees boarding the vessels in the morning. Two sailings in the morning and then they come back in the afternoon and drop their passengers off, so we'll see what happens. Once you take a ferry to work you realize how fun it could be and how relaxing it can be. I expect the numbers to go up ," Deputy Maritime Director Peter Dailey said.
Google released this statement: "We certainly don't want to cause any inconveniences to SF residents and we're trying alternative ways to get Googlers to work."
This will not impact the public ferries that use the Port of San Francisco that these private ferries or taxis have their own gate and the port says they've got room for more, so they're hoping that other companies will also think to do this.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
protest, mission district, google, mountain view, bay area traffic, amy hollyfield
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