For the past few days, a number of Google workers living in San Francisco have been getting to and from their offices in Mountain View by boat -- at least most of the way.
Though Google made no announcement and has said little about the venture, local media outlets quickly deduced that the search giant was the organization contracting with Multinational Logistics Systems to run a private ferry from the Port of San Francisco to the Port of Redwood City.
A Google spokeswoman would only offer a brief on-record statement on the matter: "We certainly don't want to cause any inconvenience to SF residents and we're trying alternative ways to get Googlers to work," she wrote in an email to the Voice.
The Port of Redwood City posted a press release on its website this morning, which provides some details about the initiative, but never names Google specifically. According to Michael Giari, the port's executive director, a company called Multinational Logistics Systems will operate the private ferry service for five weeks. A single ferry will make four trips per day back and forth between the Port of San Francisco and the Port of Redwood City.
According to the press release, "Buses meet the ferries on Wharf 5 at the Port of Redwood City to transport passengers to and from their place of work" in Silicon Valley.
The ferry can carry up to 149 passengers, and travels at a speed of 27 knots. At that speed, a port staff member said, the trip from the Port of San Francisco to the Port of Redwood City should take about an hour.
The single ferry makes four round trips per day -- two in the morning, between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., and two in the evening, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., according to the press release.
The boat itself is a catamaran style vessel, designed to create minimal wake and for a smooth ride, Giari said.
According to the port's press release, the ferry shuttles are only scheduled to run for five weeks on weekdays only. Service is scheduled to end on Feb. 7.
Google may have been looking into the possibility of using ferries to shuttle their workers up and down the Peninsula for some time. Former Google employee-turned-influential-Silicon Valley investor, Chris Sacca, tweeted on Jan. 7 that he had been asked to research the feasibility of using ferries to commute between San Francisco and Mountain View back in 2006.
The Google spokeswoman would not comment on why the company is trying out the ferry service. However, judging by the company's official statement, it may be trying to reduce the number of Google buses on San Francisco streets. Taking a ferry to and from San Francisco and Mountain View could potentially cut down on travel time on days when traffic is especially heavy on Highway 101.
In a conversation with the Voice the port's executive director, Giari, said he hadn't been keeping a daily count of who is using the ferry, but he said on the first day when the first ferry arrived, he saw about 40 people disembark.