SAN FRANCISCO — Google is testing a new way for its workers in the East Bay to commute across the bay to the company's Mountain View headquarters: by ferry.
Starting Monday, the agency that operates San Francisco Bay Ferry said Google would provide a trial private ferry service for five days between the Harbor Bay terminal in Alameda and the Port of Redwood City.
Last month, Google launched a similar pilot program from San Francisco to quiet growing tensions over buses that transport workers from the city to Silicon Valley. The buses have become a symbol of the tech-driven gentrification in San Francisco that is being blamed for a spike in housing costs and evictions there.
In an incident signaling the tense situation, a protester hurled a rock through the window of a Google bus in Oakland in December. Last month, demonstrators stood outside the Berkeley home of a Google engineer, protesting the company's work on military robots and the tech industry's role in driving up the cost of living in San Francisco.
The Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) said Google would pay $275 per landing. It also said the company would provide separate parking and a shuttle service for its employees riding the ferry. It also said the normal ferry schedule would not be affected by the Google ferry.
"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."