It may be named the Boring Company, but the speed and cost at which this company would allow you to travel are not boring at all. On Thursday, Elon Musk, CEO of the company, detailed some plans of his company to build mass transit tunnels beneath Los Angeles. Such smaller tunnels are a part of Musk’s bigger plan of a cross-country Hyperloop system.
On Thursday night, speaking at the Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles, Musk along with a former SpaceX engineer and Boring’s project leader, Steve Davis, showed the concept for the Loop, a “personalized mass transit” system. The CEO revealed that the Loop would carry 16 people and would travel at 150 miles per hour, enough to get you from downtown Los Angeles to LA International Airport – a distance of 11 miles – in just eight minutes.
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— The Boring Company (@boringcompany) May 18, 2018
According to Musk, the projected fare per person would be just $1. Further, Elon Musk added that they also have plans to develop several small stations which would be the size of a single or double parking spot. The CEO also offered free rides to anyone interested in taking part in the test.
Musk also revealed that the Loop would need about 2.7 miles of tunnel, which would run north to south, parallel to the Interstate 405 freeway. Interestingly, Musk, who is known for making big promises, gave no timeline for the project. The 2.7 mile hyperloop tunnel is the first step toward a 60-mile tunnel network across the city.
The concept images of the Loop transit shows passengers being taken down from the surface to an underground facility. From there, they are transported through a network of multiple connected tunnels.
“This system is designed to be more like a highway and a bunch of off-ramps and loops connecting to the highway, kind of like cars,” Elon Musk said. “Almost like an autonomous underground, multi-level car system… that costs a dollar.”
Musk talking to the public directly can be seen as an effort to reassure the neighbors about the viability of this totally experimental tunnel. LA Metro previously confirmed that it was working with the Boring Company on the experiment. Musk assured the audience that the project is noise-free and would reduce traffic drastically.
“Compared to a flying car, you don’t have to worry about bad weather, you can’t see it, hear it feel it, you’re not dividing communities with lanes and we think we can make this really fun,” Musk said.
Musk’s Loop project has already faced a backlash from some in the local community. Many have raised voices against the approval of a 2.7-mile tunnel. The Boring Company got an exemption to a state environmental review (a lengthy process) from the city council committee.
Two Los Angeles groups – Brentwood Residents Coalition and the Sunset Coalition – have sued the city over this exemption. The groups argue that Musk’s company must not be exempted from an environmental review.
“It’s really sketchy the way this whole process happened,” said Wendy-Sue Rosen, president of Brentwood Residents Coalition, according to CNN. “Musk has not done it the right way, and he’s standing there saying, ‘Don’t worry.’ That doesn’t assure me.”
Also, neighboring Culver City has questioned the handling of the project by the Los Angeles government. Apart from these problems, the other issue with the project is digging those tunnels. Though Musk showed a video of a speedy test run via a tunnel on the SpaceX property, the focus is on speeding up things. Stopping the drilling to reinforce the tunnel, instead of drilling continuously, is slowing the process. The Boring Company, however, is working on addressing the issues.
So far, the test runs have hit a couple hundred miles an hour. Musk’s plans, however, are for vacuum Hyperloop tubes between cities at up to 300 mph, while 150 mph for the in-city Loop carts. The primary objective is to travel at speed, but which is comfortable for the passengers inside. Musk stated that his tunneling startup is developing their own tunneling machine, which will be ten times more efficient than existing machines. According to Davis, the tunnels from Los Angeles to San Francisco could be done in just a few weeks.
Previously, Elon Musk stated that the Boring Company is a part of proposed Hyperloop projects, including the U.S. East Coast one. Though initially Musk allowed other startups to carry forward the idea of the Hyperloop, last year, his tunneling startup won the approval to develop a Hyperloop between New York and Washington, DC.