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Google launches test of East Bay ferry service today

Original post made on Feb 3, 2014

Google is beginning today a weeklong 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 ==I Voice==, Google planned its trial of East Bay ferry service while in the midst of its trial ferry service from San Francisco to Redwood City.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, February 3, 2014, 10:05 AM

Comments (15)

Posted by Otto Maddox, a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 3, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Just waiting for the Google haters to chime in.

Posted by Weird Mountain View, a resident of Castro City
on Feb 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm

This is a good idea. What about a general boat service for non-google commuters that goes from SF to the South Bay?

Posted by mt, a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 3, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Anybody know why ferry service cannot be directly to MTV or Sunnyvale, or Palo Alto even. Anything planned?

Posted by PAO Pilot, a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2014 at 3:02 pm

The bay south of the Dumbarton Bridge is really shallow, so ferry service would require dredging to get to MTV. There is a dock for wind surfers/kayaks in Palo Alto, but the channel is too narrow/shallow for a boat of any size.

At low tide, the bay south of the Dumbarton Bridge is mostly just mud with a few narrow channels.

Posted by Greg David, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 3, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Greg David is a registered user.

They are actually studying the possibility of using the old fuel barge landing at the Northeast end of Moffett's runways. This was used up into the nineties for fuel deliveries. If they dredged the slough and built dock facilities, they could presumably bring Googlers directly to their new offices at Moffett. If they build the bridge over Stevens Creek, then the ferrys could presumably service the entire campus conveniently with small shuttle buses...

Posted by PA Resident, a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Hovercrafts would be a much better option.

They don't need deep water and don't need to have a dock, they can hover up a boat slip way or onto a gravel beach. They are faster than boats, they get out of the water, they hover over shallow water and have no underwater drag to harm water plant habitats and water wildlife habitats.

They would be an ideal alternative for Google as they could get much closer to the Google campus than any boat.

Posted by Old Coot, a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 4, 2014 at 6:52 am

Hovercraft do have a few pesky drawbacks:
They're LOUD. Really, really loud.
They burn fuel like it's 10 cents a gallon.
They're difficult to maneuver. Add some crosswind and hang on!
And that's for starters.
See -
Web Link

All of the hazards of a blimp.
None of the charm.

Posted by PA Resident, a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2014 at 7:53 am

Here's a video showing passenger hovercrafts arriving and leaving in Ryde, Isle of Wight. Web Link

Posted by Clearly Thinking, a resident of Bailey Park
on Feb 4, 2014 at 12:14 pm

The reasons why hoover craft are not the right tool for this job are multiple:

- Initial cost of boats would be way more expensive then traditional craft.
- Horrible fuel consumption compared to traditional craft.
- Maitenance and repair costs for hover craft are astronomical compared to traditional craft, similar to a helicopter cost of ownership compared to a propeller Cesna
- Noise and "Prop wash" would ruin the surrounding area for people and animals/birds.

The area would need dredging anyway for maintenance boat access, so even with an HC fleet, the area would still need dredging.

There simply is no compelling reason to go w/ hoover craft when you look at ALL the factors. Traditional boats do everything a HC does, only cheaper and with less of a footprint than the HCs would make.
People get blinded by the "Neato" factor and ignore the huge costs involved compared to traditional boats, and the end result is the same.

Posted by Old Coot, a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 4, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Maybe personal jetpacks are the ticket.
Web Link

Posted by PA Resident, a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Here is another video of a more modern American hovercraft. Web Link

From the Palo Alto online thread The EPS Hovercraft has noise dampening ducts, muffler and a host of other new technology that moves it nautical miles apart from other older Hovercraft...

Web Link

Posted by Yabut, a resident of Bailey Park
on Feb 4, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Still too costly in comparison, both initially as well as long term.

Posted by Old Coot, a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 4, 2014 at 5:18 pm

"...has noise dampening ducts, muffler and a host of other new technology..."
That cost more than the yearly budget of most states to start with and the maintenance is humongous.
Other than the the facts that it costs far too much; tears the snot out of anything it runs over, sucks up or drowns; roars ungawdly while burning torrents of fuel; is a logistical nightmare; and is a shining example of yesterday's technology, today!

Of course there's always the old dependable...
Web Link.

Posted by Mike J, a resident of Gemello
on Feb 5, 2014 at 6:23 am

Agree with the comments about the deal breaking costs of these hovercraft, but one thing not mentioned would be the enormous area that would need to be flattened and concreted so these things can come and go. Look at the area surrounding the craft in the video. I can't even fathom how much bay land would be destroyed/concreted over in order to accommodate them.
A WILDLY impractical proposal compared to a regular ferries.

Posted by Big Time, a resident of another community
on Feb 18, 2014 at 7:41 pm

To Clearly Thinking, Old Coot and Yabut:

What are your facts and data after 2005...
Have you ever been on a Commercial or Military Hovercraft?
Are you aware that things have changes since 1969?

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