Elon Musk says he’s reworking The Boring Company’s mission to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists over cars, suggesting the company’s planned high-speed tunnels will serve as a form of mass transit.
Details are scant, and it’s not clear how much this was worked out in advance vs. how much Musk is just riffing on Twitter right now, but he says the plan is to have all of the company’s underground transports carry cars, their original focus, only after “all personalized mass transit needs are met.” Rather than mass transit stations, however, Musk says there will be thousands of small and discreet stations across a city.
Musk posted a video to Twitter indicating how the new concept will work: it’s a lot like the old plan, except instead of riding your own car down into the Boring Company’s tunnels, you’d instead get in what’s essentially a train car carrying multiple other people.
The Boring Company has shown mockups of this car since last summer, but mass transit has never been the company’s focus. In fact, Musk has taken a lot of criticism from public transit advocates for his statements mocking forms of public transportation, calling it a “pain in the ass” and saying that no one wants to be close to other people, as is required on buses and trains.
Public transit advocates have also been vocal about the fact that Musk keeps reinventing existing forms of transit and calling them different things:
I guess you could say it’s a 150 mph, underground, autonomous, electric bus that automatically switches between tunnels and lifts. So, yes, a bus.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 9, 2018
(As a side note, New York’s MTA did in fact reward Genius grants today.)
For as outlandish as The Boring Company seems to be, Musk’s latest project does appear to be making some progress. It’s already digging a tunnel under Los Angeles, and it recently received approval to dig under Washington, DC.