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Google Launches Trial Ferry Service Between Harbor Bay, Redwood City

The company is conducting a 5-day trial private ferry service between Alameda and Redwood City.

Patch photo archive
Patch photo archive
By Bay City News Service—

Google is beginning Monday a weeklong private ferry service trial from the East Bay to Silicon Valley for its employees, according to the Water Emergency Transportation Authority.

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.

Copyright © 2014 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.
Brenda Gardner February 04, 2014 at 09:16 AM
Only for Google employees and not for the public? Oh well.
Susie Murphy February 04, 2014 at 09:58 AM
Awesome idea! Go Google! I commute down 880 to 92 (to San Mateo) every week day. I thought a boat would be a fine way to get to work over a year ago during an occasional 2 hour commute (wreck on the bridge). Either a boat or a helicopter : ) Yay! They're doing it!
Carol Parker February 04, 2014 at 10:07 AM
So, I'm guessing they will shuttle them from Grand View Pavilion on Island Drive? They will be filling up the Safeway/CVS lot? They have a lot reserved at the Harbor Bay business park? Let's find out where they will be parking and which neighborhood will be impacted. The google (tech) buses are already picking up and dropping off commuters from the Grand View Pavilion parking lot. Island Drive is already a mess during commute hours. Why import more cars here? Hopefully they are parking at the business park somewhere and using Harbor Bay Parkway instead of Island Drive.
Nancy Brandt February 04, 2014 at 11:07 AM
I don't understand why Google's efforts to reduce traffic for every commuter, improve air quality for everyone, provide an employee benefit that obviously helps Google, too, and use innovative methods to solve serious problems makes so many people so angry. Envy? Hey, if it works, maybe your company will become more innovative, too. And what does it hurt? I think they should be congratulated and encouraged. I do not work for Google and don't know anyone who does. And I live at Harbor Bay.
pricklypair February 04, 2014 at 01:48 PM
WETA contacts http://sanfranciscobayferry.com/press/MediaAdvisories/HarborBayMediaAdvisory020214.pdf
Carol Parker February 04, 2014 at 04:41 PM
Nancy you raise good points- I can't speak for others, but for me it is not envy, but concern - that as a renter I will be priced out of the town I was born in and won't be able to continue to live here any longer if we have a large influx of higher income people flocking here. I know if one is a homeowner you probably are happy about people with a high income discovering Alameda because your property values will go up. As someone who will never be able to afford to own a home in Alameda again it worries me. We need more affordable market-rate rental housing for senior citizens in Alameda.
JSanders February 04, 2014 at 05:19 PM
I agree with Nancy that having higher income working people come to Alameda is a good thing. But I also agree with Carol that Alameda needs more affordable housing for seniors. Our city spends way too much rewarding lazy people who won't work make a career leaching off government benefits, and the result is that we don't have enough left over for those who truly need and deserve help. Look at the fancy apartments that replaced the Islander for example. Such a great location and would be lovely for seniors who could then conveniently access Park St shopping, library etc. Instead, those units are for non senior, one or two person households. Ten are even reserved for those with AIDS, which apparently now is considered a disability. Last time I checked, a self inflicted disease should not be reasonably considered a disability.
djs February 04, 2014 at 07:12 PM
JSanders=Self inflicted disease.
Brenda Gardner February 05, 2014 at 01:11 AM
I'm confused. Is the commuter service for everyone or only for Google employees?
Carol Parker February 05, 2014 at 08:12 AM
It is private, just for their employees, according to news reports.
Nancy Brandt February 05, 2014 at 10:14 AM
I never said anything about income, and I most certainly agree that Alameda needs more affordable housing for seniors and for the community in general. My point was that I don't think that Google should be denigrated for implementing innovative transportation alternatives that benefit the environment, their employees, Google itself by increasing productivity and employee satisfaction, and other commuters who will have a few less cars sharing the freeways. The envy remark wasn't about envying the salaries Google may (or may not, I don't know) pay, but rather about working for a company with imagination and the willingness to implement change.
NMartin February 05, 2014 at 11:30 AM
More ferries are great! Google can grant money to have our current ferries create a line from Alameda to the peninsula. Google employees can ride for free and others for a fee. Google needs to start doing things that makes everyone happy to have them around not just their employees.
Bernice February 05, 2014 at 11:56 AM
As an Alameda homeowner and one that has experienced the backlash from those that cannot buy in Alameda, I applaud this move by Google. I wish that more companies would discover the benefits of starting businesses in Alameda. I wish that more of my fellow tech people from Google, SalesForce, Twitter, Genentech, Tesla, and eBay would consider moving to Alameda to increase the standard of living and property values on the main island. Most of these new residents are flocking to Harbor Bay. Please consider the main island as an option.
NMartin February 05, 2014 at 12:27 PM
As an Alameda home owner I want my property value to stay solid, and yet have no need to make hundreds of thousands of dollars on my property because I want to stay here. I want my wonderful neighbors to stay here. I love the economic diversity of where I live. I do not want it filled with 20 somethings making hefty 6 figure salaries right out of college. I don't want the city I live in to become tech dependent. Please Google, do not move here. We are doing fine without you. If people want a higher standard of living than what Alameda offers move to Danville or Hillsborough.
Bernice February 05, 2014 at 12:42 PM
Google, please come to Alameda. Alameda Point is open for business.
Mary Ellen McMuldren February 06, 2014 at 11:50 AM
I like to see the older neglected homes renovated. We need high income newcomers or that won't happen. There are still plenty of older deteriorating homes ready for new caretakers. What is the alternative? Slum neighborhoods?
Mary Ellen McMuldren February 06, 2014 at 11:53 AM
I am so fed up with the litter. I'd like to see low income housing for people who do not litter. I suppose that means they must be people who actually cook at home (no fast food), perhaps do not drive cars, do not smoke, do not drink sodas, and actually know how to sort and properly dispose of their recyling and trash. Perhaps an IQ test on these procedures should be passed before we subsidize their housing. I do not endorse JSander's point of view but I pick up a lot of litter.
NMartin February 06, 2014 at 12:12 PM
Mary Ellen, I completely agree about restoring our beautiful homes. Unfortunately many of the homes are rentals and with the high demand for housing ,tenants are happy just to have something and afraid to rock the boat. I rented here until 2 years ago and was amazed at the lack of care and number of slumlords. I would fully support stricter laws for home improvements, fines for unpermitted work and cut corners that people use to save a buck that are unsightly and most of all dangerous as. There should be a certain level of care that homes must have. Not a cookie cutter community but one that shows pride of ownership. I think that would end up with reduced litter as well.
Mary Ellen McMuldren February 06, 2014 at 12:42 PM
My neighborhood has a mix of well kept and poorly maintained modest and rather nice homes - there is even an extremely rundown vacant rental home. I've spoken with the elderly landlord and he has not tried to fix it or sell it for over a year! Then there are the elderly who do not or cannot do the most basic maintenance. I wish there was an organization in Alameda who could help them with their yard work! There are some hazards to the neighborhood (a fire danger) in letting the weeds grow uncontrolled for years. I also do not believe landlords should be allowed to hold property vacant for year(s) in an area of high demand.
Bernice February 06, 2014 at 12:48 PM
Mary Ellen, I agree 100%! I purchased an older home in Alameda and have poured time and money into restoring it. So have 4 out of the 5 neighbors on my little street. While I applied and paid for permits for all my renovations, my neighbor has just let her property go into disrepair. There is peeling lead paint, dilapidated stairs, an abandoned rusting white minivan in her driveway that hasn't moved since 2007, rotting furniture in her rear yard, and an unkept front yard. I cannot tell you the times I have had to pick up garbage, wash that rusty minivan, or sweep her side yard to minimize the dirt. Yet, the city seems powerless to do anything about negligent homeowners like this. There is only one code enforcement officer and the property owner's relative is supposedly "politically connected". It is going to force me to just rent my house out in a few years and become one of those "slumlords" you described. I detest the thought of becoming a slumlord and leaving Alameda, but unless steps can be taken by the city to address neglected properties like this one, my property value will suffer, and I'll be forced to rent my house out. This is why I pray the City speeds up the development of businesses and new homes on the main island.
Lisbeth Allen February 06, 2014 at 01:00 PM
Mary Ellen, if you sincerely believe that there is a fire danger, call the fire department. They monitor these issues. From the City's website: If you observe a property with a potential fire hazard contact Fire Prevention at 510-337-2120.
Autumn Johnson (Editor) February 07, 2014 at 09:14 AM
Google's Trial Ferry Service From Harbor Bay Ends Today http://alameda.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/googles-trial-ferry-service-from-harbor-bay-ends-today
Lisbeth Allen February 07, 2014 at 12:09 PM
The ferry service might end today, but we will continue to byitch about it anyway.

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