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Would hovercrafts work as public transit around the Bay?

Original post made by Resident on Jan 13, 2014

Now that Google are experimenting with ferries to get employees from San Francisco to Redwood City and then buses to Mountain View, I am thinking that this could be an innovative start to something more. Since Redwood City is still so far from Google and the South Bay, I was wondering if hovercrafts would be a better option.

Hovercrafts glide across the top of the water so dredging would not be necessary. They also glide up a boat ramp so no docking is necessary. They are also faster than traditional water craft. I have been on hovercrafts and they are very efficient at what they do.

I feel sure that this is something innovative worth pursuing. Does anyone have any comments? Civil discussion would be appreciated. Thanks.

Comments (14)

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2014 at 12:47 pm

I have been looking at various hovercraft services around the world to see if there are comparisons. The passenger service between the mainland and Isle of Wight in Britain seems to be a similar fit to our Bay, but that of course is a Sea Bay whereas our Bay is an inland Bay. But I think it would be a good fit.

Here is a wiki article to give some more insight Web Link


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Was speaking with a couple of engineer type over the weekend who were talking about this and thought it would work well, be much faster and cheaper to run all over the Bay. Can't understand why nobody here has been interested enough in the idea to comment.

Any Google people reading this?


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2014 at 9:11 am

Here is a comment from the Mountain View Voice thread.

Posted by Mike Glanville, a resident of Shoreline West
6 hours ago

Old Coot is describing hovercraft as they were when first introduced, modern hovercraft are not so noisy, around 80 decibels, similar to a shopping mall, school classroom or busy restaurant. Air boats are up to 120 decibels, so people often get hovercraft mixed up with air boat noise. Modern hovercraft do not use so much fuel either, they do not push gallons of water out of the way like a boat does. CAD/CNC technology has vastly improved hovercraft, you can even buy personal hovercraft to help you commute, so they are also affordable for marine leisure fun, check out www.hovercraft.org to find out more about hovercraft, no doubt hovercraft could save time and money helping people commute more effectively. Did I mention hovercraft are also kinder to the environment - no prop to damage sea mammals



Do I see a good idea for a Silicon Valley start up?


Posted by Charles Ivan King, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 27, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Quite happy to see this thread here...lets cover the
BASICS
...YES...Hovercraft can be a valuable connection to all points South of San Mateo and Dumbarton Bridges, and all other point where normal ferry boat (draft) vessels are off limits. Google is to WETA what Virgin is to NASA, and it seems Google and Virgin are forging new options for human travel...The big problem with Hovercraft operation in the USA has been certain laws that prohibit foreign purchased vessels from operating between two CONUS points, that is until EPS Navy Systems became the first company to manufacture a commercially viable Hovercraft for use in the USA...This Green Certified Vessel is currently the most environmentally feasible vessel for operation in sensitive habitat where protected species such as Snowy Plover, Harvest Mouse and other sensitive vegetation reside.
POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT
The city of San Jose for the Alviso District conducted the first of its kind feasibility study for water transit in the South Bay and it found the Hovercraft the ONLY vessel that can transit the area without major disruption to the environment. Some dredging firms may not like the loss of business should a new water transit option become prevalent, but they should rest assured that SOME dredging will be necessary, just not in the grand scale they may be accustomed to. WETA also conducted its own feasibility study through the firm URS, and that study likewise found Hovercraft an effective vessel for water transit where dredging and draft vessel operation is not feasible. Good luck finding that WETA study in the public domain...

FUTURE
East Palo Alto is a prime candidate for Hovercraft operation at Cooley landing as it already has the water access and ground transit infrastructure for shuttle bus operation and is positively situated on the San Francisco Bay Trail for bicycle and pedestrian traffic. From East Palo Alto a person could take a Hovercraft to all points of the South bay, to Alviso, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Fremont, Hayward, San Leandro Redwood City and even Oakland jack London Square, should the political bodies decide this is a viable option.

We have been working the Hovercraft issue since 1999 and continue to advocate for its use as a sane and safe form of transit where no other form of water transit vessel can operate. We welcome anyone who what to join in this Brave New World endeavor...It is NOW time to connect the bay Trail with Hovercraft so people can move closer to home and work without great reliance on the automobile.

Web Link

Web Link


Posted by Cost of Ownership is HUGE, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 27, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Is it the most cost effective way considering cost of crafts, fuel consumption, costs of hourly operation, highly skilled/compensated staff, regular maintenance, cost of replacement parts... Then ask yourself are they more noisy and more disruptive of migratory wildlife who need the south bay as a nesting/resting area?

Sometimes the coolness of something excites people, but when you look at it closely, the coolest is usually not the best.
They still may have to dredge the area to keep it open for non hovercraft.
Where's the big glaring "WIN" with hover crafts over boats.


Posted by Charles Ivan King, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 27, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Reply to Cost of Ownership is Huge...
Is it the most cost effective way considering cost of crafts;
**Two Hovercraft can be purchased for the cost of one Draft ferry vessel...
**fuel consumption: Hovercraft consume considerably less fuel than a conventional draft vessel...Drag is one reason...less drag, better fuel consumption...
**costs of hourly operation:Hovercraft are considerably less to operate over conventional draft vessels...Hovercraft are SURGICAL tools best used in support of ferry operations, as transfer vessels to Ferry debarkation points...
**highly skilled/compensated staff: Hovercraft operate will less staff than ferry boats, and the average ferry boat operator can be trained to operate Hovercraft within 40 hours of training.
**regular maintenance: Yesteryear hovercraft required five hours of maintenance for every hour of operation...Today's hovercraft require one hour of maintenance for ever five hours of operation...The technology has evolved...
**cost of replacement parts: Skirt is about the only replacement option for Hovercraft and can be accomplished on land as it is an amphibious vessel, unlike Ferry boats which require dry docking, etc, etc......

Then ask yourself are they more noisy and more disruptive of migratory wildlife who need the south bay as a nesting/resting area?

**This is the MOST COMMON mis-perception of people who think they know about Hovercraft...Yesteryear Hovercraft were well above the 80db noise threshold of Hovercraft of today. Hovercraft operations in other parts of the WORLD have shown these vessels can co-exist with "migratory wildlife who need the South Bay as nesting/resting areas."

You ask for the Big WIN? Consider the noisy aircraft the Co-exist with migratory bird nesting areas in the South Bay already...Then consider the increasing traffic on our roads and the increasing gridlock from that traffic and given the rebuttals to all you concerns above, Hovercraft will balance toward a more positive option toward a better way to go...Finally if you are looking for the Big Win...Name me three movies that feature Hovercraft?


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Charles Ivan King

Thanks for your comments and I get the impression that this is something you think would work well, as I do.

I am particularly interested in what you say about laws preventing foreign purchased vessels from operating between two CONUS points. Does this mean that all ferries, Cruise Ships, etc. have to be American manufactured, or are there ways of getting around these laws? Is there such a thing as an American manufactured hovercraft?

Do you see any likelihood of some type of passenger service hovercraft, whether private or public, being able to operate locally?


Posted by Charles Ivan King, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 28, 2014 at 3:38 pm

RESIDENT
Thanks for your comments and I get the impression that this is something you think would work well, as I do.

**Indeed I do.

I am particularly interested in what you say about laws preventing foreign purchased vessels from operating between two CONUS points.

** Jones Act

Does this mean that all ferries, Cruise Ships, etc. have to be American manufactured, or are there ways of getting around these laws?
**
Web Link
Web Link

Is there such a thing as an American manufactured hovercraft?

**EPS Hovercraft..a division of EPS Navy Systems...The only commercially viable, green certified Hovercraft manufactured in the USA starting in 2007. It the Hovercraft featured in the San Jose Alviso Emergency Port Study...
Web Link

Do you see any likelihood of some type of passenger service hovercraft, whether private or public, being able to operate locally?

**It would be quite nice to have a PP3 Public/private entity...I have found general resistance to the idea primarily from people who have old beliefs about hovercraft and from people who seem to be authorities on the topic but have never been on or near a Hovercraft...

If you are interested, along with a core group of others, I would say lets talk...


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Very interested in this, although I don't think I am qualified in any way to help. Just very interested at spotting good ideas.

Good luck.


Posted by Charles Ivan King, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Well I am happy you are a concerned resident...


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2014 at 7:55 am

Here's a great video of passenger hovercrafts arriving and leaving in Ryde, Isle of Wight.

How cool would these be crossing the Bay taking people to work and for sightseeing trips around the Bay.

Web Link


Posted by Charles Ivan King, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Now here is EPS Navy Systems Hovercraft, the only Green Certified, environmentally friendly, Hovercraft currently built in the USA. Note the features of each Hovercraft...The EPS Hovercraft has noise dampening ducts, muffler and a host of other new technology that moves it nautical miles apart from other older Hovercraft...

Web Link


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2014 at 4:33 pm

That's a great video and I like the look of this particular hovercraft. Thanks for posting it. Although it looks great, unfortunately with the music it is hard to hear any sound. How much quieter would this one be from the one in the earlier video. Thanks.


Posted by CIK, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 6, 2014 at 7:54 pm

I consider the two vehicles light years apart like a finly tuned Italian sports car to that of consumer level automobile. The experience with noise is something you will have to experience your self in Florida, directly across from where the Space Shuttle used to launch...Since the market here has not yet fully realized the value of Commercial Hovercraft, a performance test, in these waters, is a project deferred. In the video you will see cameo of the man who designed and built it. That is more important than sound for right now...I can say at the distance from land hovercraft operate, and even in close proximity while docking, the sound is a tolerable <> 80db, about the same noise level of any other form of transit. FRANKly just getting it built is a TRIUMPH.


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