First priority goes to those who can’t afford to buy a car

Elon Musk is recalibrating his plans for the tunnels his company, The Boring Company, will dig to service the Hyperloop transit system. According to Musk, his tunnel-digging company will prioritize pedestrians and cyclists over cars. There’s still a plan to service and transport cars, but that plan has taken a back seat a new plan that will service those who can’t afford a car first.

As expected, Elon Musk revealed his intentions in a series of tweets, saying that the change from giving cars to pedestrians priority was made out of courtesy and fairness. “If someone can’t afford a car, they should go first,” he added. Musk’s tweets were posted as he came under fire for supposedly prioritizing personal cars with the project. Turns out, public transit will take priority over private transportation once the Loop and Hyperloop projects (literally) get off the ground.

All other parts of his plan remain the same, though. The Boring Company is still pushing forward in creating tunnels under converted cities through which pedestrians and cars can be transported on electric-powered, high-speed sleds. We saw a preview of this last year when Musk showed a Model S driving into a platform at road level at which point the platform lowered into a tunnel and became a high-speed sled. The sled then merged automatically into a high-speed tunnel where speeds of 124 mph are reportedly possible.

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The sled then merged automatically into a high-speed tunnel where speeds of 124 mph are reportedly possible.

This new direction is similar to the one Musk showed last year. For those who don’t have cars that can be transported by these sleds, they can take an SUV-sized shuttle that will be set up at small stations about the size of a single parking lot on the ground. Commuters can hop on board these shuttles, which would then be lowered into a tunnel below-ground and drive along the same high-speed tunnel that we saw in the Model S video preview. If this re-calibrated plan succeeds, Musk noted that thousands of stations could be built on the ground to follow the layout of The Boring Company’s tunnels.

The idea once again sounds great. At the very least, it has the potential to be a game-changing solution to the current ills plaguing public transportation these days. But none of Musk’s plans will come to fruition if he doesn’t get the necessary permits from local governments to start digging tunnels under their cities.

At the moment, The Boring Company has received a few approvals to do that, most recently in Washington D.C. As difficult and as potentially costly as Musk’s plans are, there has been a good amount of support from local governments across the U.S. Now it’s on The Boring Company to prove to everyone that it knows what it’s doing.


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