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Google catamaran takes staff  to work
Google catamaran takes staff to work

Google workers commuting from San Francisco to the company's Silicon Valley campus can now make part of the trek on an 83-foot, Wi-Fi-equipped catamaran.

The search engine company has launched a free ferry service from San Francisco's ferry terminal to the Port of Redwood City about 42 kilometres away, where employees can then hop on a private bus to work.

Named the Triumphant, the charter ferry can carry up to 150 passengers and runs twice each morning and evening, with voyages lasting about 47 minutes each way, according to KPIX-TV.

Google is hoping to defuse a growing controversy as the boat service started on the same day San Francisco city officials said Google and other tech companies, including Apple Inc and Genentech Inc, that use public bus stops to pick up thousands of employees on private shuttles, must pay roughly $US1 per stop per day as part of an 18-month pilot program.

But critics of Google's buses are not thrilled by news of the boat, citing concerns that catamarans are worse for the environment than shuttle buses.