Google offers ferry service

Boat shuttles workers from SF to RWC, connects with buses

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.


Like this comment
Posted by Gusto
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 9, 2014 at 3:19 pm

In a related story, Facebook is evil.

Like this comment
Posted by gentrified
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 9, 2014 at 9:17 pm

it must be cheaper to run ferries than to pay SF 100k

Like this comment
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 10, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

I find it amusing that SF and other cities are constantly screaming for employers to provide alternatives to people driving solo to and from work and then as soon as one employer implements an effective solution, they want to tax it!!! I guess it just goes to show that it really isn't about global warming, it's about global taxation.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

Like this comment
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 10, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Just wondering...

...does google allow/encourage telecommuting and, if not, why not?

Like this comment
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2014 at 12:52 pm

I have a suggestion and would like to see if people would think it might work.

How about hovercrafts? They do not need a dredged waterway and do not need a dock as they can use a slipway as they hover over water rather than sit in water. They are fast and efficient, can carry a large number of people as well as cars and bicycles. Could Google start using hovercrafts to Mountain View instead of ferries that end in Redwood City.

Here is the wiki article about hovercrafts. Web Link

The passenger service between the Isle of Wight and the mainland in Britain seems to be a similar type of service except that is a sea Bay rather than our inland Bay.

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