There's been a lot of talk about easing tensions in San Francisco of late. Ron Conway wants to squash it, Mayor Ed Lee begged it hush up. Now Google is giving it a shot . . . in the most socially awkward way possible: a private employees-only ferry named The Triumphant.
Because nothing says sorry we usurped your public infrastructure like a triumphal escape to the high seas. In a statement provided to Valleywag and Re/code, Google said:
"We certainly don't want to cause any inconvenience to SF residents and we're trying alternative ways to get Googlers to work."
For this tentative pilot program, which kicked off this week, Google hired a privately operated catamaran to ferry as many as 150 employees from San Francisco to Redwood City twice each morning and evening.
Google is presenting this scenic labor cruise as a water-logged olive branch to community activists who object to the use of private use of bus stops that delays public transit riders. However Twitter investor Chris Sacca, who worked as Google's former head of special initiatives, let it slip on Twitter that the life aquatic has been a long-held dream.
At the behest of my then employer, I spent time in '06 researching the feasibility of using hydrofoil ferries for the SF/MtnView commute.
— Chris Sacca (@sacca) January 8, 2014
Traveling the highways and waterways of San Francisco like King Joffrey through Flea Bottom might not sound neighborly. But the Maritime director for the Port of San Francisco told KPIX 5, the local CBS affiliate which broke the news, that the Bay is underutilized as a means of transportation.
The program is being tested to make sure it doesn't impede other vehicles, and Google pays a per landing fee of "around $50 per call" to dock at the gates of the Ferry Building, $49 more than buses are being charged.
In that case, barge right in, the water's warm.
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