San Francisco

Bay Area Leaders to Study Hovercraft Tech as Potential Traffic Solution

A handful of Bay Area leaders, including a San Francisco tech startup, are teaming up on what they believe is a potential solution to the region's traffic problems.

They're putting up half a million dollars to study hovercraft technology.

Foster City Mayor Sam Hindi is leading the charge, along with startup Hovr, toward what could be the key to a less stressful commute for many who would be cruising on air as they head to the office.

"It’s really impacting the quality of life of all of us," Hindi said about the Bay Area traffic congestion. "The commute is taking hours and hours and hours."

Hindi is part of a group of leaders who say they support a new $500,000 study to see if the Bay Area, like England, could hover to work.

"We’re going to people, saying, 'Here’s a boat, and it flies,'" Hindi said.

Hovr is planning to build hovercraft, which it says will get people to work more quickly with a less severe environmental impact.

"Our speed is around 45 miles per hour, which means that we can get places faster than traditional boats can, and more efficiently," Hovr CEO Felix Sargent said. "We’re not pushing water out of the way, we burn less fuel."

Compared to traditional ferries, Sargent said, a hovercraft doesn’t need the same infrastructure, such as docking and marinas, and hovercraft has access to areas not accessible to ferries.

The hope initially is to build two hovercraft that would hold 30 people each and the infrastructure needed to support it by 2021.

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