Google launches test of East Bay ferry service today

Week-long trial coincides with last week of San Francisco-to-Redwood City route

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

— Bay City News Service


Like this comment
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.

Like this comment
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?

Like this comment
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?

Like this comment
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.

Like this comment
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...

Like this comment
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.

Like this comment
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.

Like this comment
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

Like this comment
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.

Like this comment
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

Like this comment
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

Like this comment
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.

Like this comment
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.

Like this comment
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.

Like this comment
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?

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

QBB opens in Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 10 comments | 3,302 views

Become a Master Gardener - Deadline Sept 21
By Laura Stec | 4 comments | 1,036 views

By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,010 views


Top restaurants to check out

Mountain View Voice readers have officially decided. See which local restaurants and businesses can now claim the title — Best Of Mountain View 2017.

View Winners