Google is beginning today a week-long private ferry service trial from the East Bay to Silicon Valley for its employees, according to the Water Emergency Transportation Authority.
As reported Jan. 23 in the Voice, Google planned its trial of East Bay ferry service while in the midst of a similar test of ferry service from San Francisco to Redwood City.
During the five-day trial period, which ends Friday, Google vessels will leave Harbor Bay in Alameda each morning and ferry passengers to Redwood City, according to the transportation authority, which oversees San Francisco Bay Ferry service.
Last month, Google started a similar trial ferrying its employees between San Francisco and Redwood City. That five-week trial also ends this Friday.
WETA executive director Nina Rannells said in a statement that the transportation authority "has a long-term strategic plan for expanding ferry service in San Francisco Bay," and that the Google ferry service will complement the public ferry services.
Based on how smoothly the service runs, the private ferry has the potential to become a permanent option for Google employees living in the East Bay and commuting to the company's headquarters in Mountain View.
Google has agreed to pay WETA $275 per landing. In an effort not to disrupt regular commuters, Google ferry riders will also not be allowed to park in the Harbor Bay ferry parking lot or on adjacent neighborhood streets.
Google will provide off-site parking and a shuttle service for its employees.
The Google ferry service is not expected to impact the normal San Francisco Bay Ferry schedule, WETA officials said.
The ferry services come as Google and other tech companies have faced criticism for private commuter buses in San Francisco that housing advocates say have led to higher costs of living in the city and cause delays for public bus service.
Mountain View Voice staff contributed to this report