Flying can be a real pain in the butt.
For starters, it can take hours to check your baggage, clear security, make your way to the right terminal and be boarded. Then the plane takes 30 minutes just to get off the ground. And then you can expect to do everything over again, this time in reverse, when you land.
But what if we could do away with all that by building a $6-billion high-speed rail system that gets you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in just half an hour?
That’s exactly what Elon Musk, chief of Tesla Motors and Space X, thinks we should do. Musk says he came up with the concept after learning about the California government’s mind-boggling plan to build a $68-billion transcontinental high-speed rail service.
Musk’s design uses major interstate highways as trackways for the system, which he calls ‘Hyperloop.’ The trains themselves would use high-power magnets to propel transport capsules at speeds of over 600 miles per hour. Musk’s system would focus on passenger travel, with most trains holding fewer than 30 travelers in compact capsules.
Musk says the trains could depart every 30 seconds and a one-way ticket from LA to San Francisco would cost just $20.
But not everyone is buying into the idea. California High-Speed Rail Authority chairman Dan Richard says Musk doesn’t realize all of the costs involved in such a radical and ambitious project.
“If and when Mr. Musk pursues his Hyperloop technology, we’ll be happy to share our experience about what it really takes to build a project in California, across seismic zones, minimizing impacts on farms, businesses and communities and protecting sensitive environmental areas and species,” Richard said.