In the midst of Google’s commuter buses being cast as a symbol of economic disparity in San Francisco, the Silicon Valley giant has launched a new means of transportation for its workers – a catamaran called “The Triumphant.”
The high-speed service, a pilot program, began on Monday, the same day that leaders in The City announced plans for a pilot allowing commuter shuttles, including Google’s, to use select Muni stops for a fee of $1 per each stop per day.
Google would only provide the following statement from a spokesperson: “We certainly don't want to cause any inconvenience to SF residents and we're trying alternative ways to get Googlers to work.”
An arrangement with a private firm has enabled the catamaran to carry up to 149 passengers and take two trips in the morning and two in the evening. “The Triumphant” was built last year by All American Marine Inc., acknowledged Laura Mit, who works in accounting for the Washington-based company that custom-builds boats and allows customers to name them. Like all boats that use the Port of San Francisco on a short-term basis, Google will pay for each docking “The Triumphant” makes.
But Erin McElroy, an organizer with Eviction-Free San Francisco, did not see Google’s use of the waterways as a triumph. The issue isn’t how tech workers are getting to work, she said, but that they’re “displacing longtime residents.”
“Whether it’s buses or boats or private airplanes, our concern is that they are going to private corporations and being provided with amenities that allow them to live here comfortably and not participate in the local economy,” McElroy said. “It’s creating a speculative real estate market in which it’s lucrative to evict tenants and create housing that only tech workers can afford.”Bay Area NewsGoogle busTech shuttleTransittransportationTriumphant