CA: Google Launches Commuter Ferry from Alameda to Redwood City

Google employees living in the East Bay can trade a trip on one of the company's controversial shuttle buses for a ferry ride this week.

The Mountain View tech company started offering free boat rides for workers between Harbor Bay terminal in Alameda and the Port of Redwood City on Monday.

Launched as a weeklong pilot program, the new service joins a similar catamaran ferry that started linking San Francisco and Redwood City last month.

Google's move to the sea comes as corporate shuttles used by the search giant, Apple and other Silicon Valley companies became a symbol for tech-boom gentrification — and a target of protests in San Francisco and the East Bay.

The new ferry makes one trip each morning and one per evening, and will not interfere with the San Francisco Bay Ferry schedule, according to the Water Emergency Transportation Authority.

Google will pay WETA $275 per landing.

"WETA has a long-term strategic plan for expanding ferry service in San Francisco Bay," Nina Rannells, executive director of WETA, said in a statement. "The Google private ferry service can be a complement to the public service provided by WETA and other Bay Area ferry services."

Google workers must find their own way to Alameda's Harbor Bay terminal — there is no shuttle bus service, according to a WETA spokesman.

And employees cannot park at the Harbor Bay lot or on adjacent streets during the five-day trial. Instead, Google will provide off-site parking.

To travel the 11 miles between the Port of Redwood City and Google's headquarters, employees will ride shuttle buses.


Julie Balise is a San Francisco Chronicle reporter. E-mail: jbalise@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @jkbalise

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