If you take the Harbor Bay Ferry or work anywhere in the vicinity you might have noticed a bunch of news trucks outside. If you were wondering what was going on and didn’t happen to catch it on the news Google (yes THAT Google) is testing out an Alameda to Redwood City ferry route to shuttle its workers to Mountain View using something other than those Google buses that have grown to symbolize the problem with gentrification in cities like Oakland and San Francisco. The test will only last five days.
While I understand the basic sentiment behind the anger toward the Google buses, I guess I struggle with seeing the problem of getting single occupancy vehicles off the roads by providing workers with a mass transit option. I’ll also point out that, in San Francisco, private shuttle buses have been used long before Google started, but those gleaming white buses are a pretty big and obvious target, plus taking up spaces reserved for true public transit is probably pretty frustrating.
Anyway, Google’s foray into private ferries hasn’t appeared to have the same affect as the Google buses. Google is testing out a run from San Francisco to Redwood City and it looks like they are now testing the viability of getting their East Bay workers out of the buses and cutting directly across the Bay with this Alameda route.
I’m not quite sure how this benefits Alameda since I imagine that the population of Google workers that actually lives in Alameda is pretty small. It might affect traffic in to Alameda during commute time which, while reverse, still will clog up on streets near Lincoln Middle School. Granted the pilot is very small, according to the Mountain View Times, for the San Francisco to Redwood City ferry, about 500 people expressed interest and they started with a 100 person pilot. If the pilot is similar for the Alameda ferry, that won’t be that much of an impact.
According to the Press Release that was issued, Google will be paying WETA $275 per landing and the employees will not be using the Ferry’s parking lot but will have to park somewhere offsite (that, of course, is not the residential neighborhood.)
Hey, you know, if the Google ferry is successful maybe Ron Cowan should build service oriented retail in that North Loop Space to serve all those new ferry riders. Just a thought.