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How the Hyperloop could become a faster and cheaper subway alternative

by Jacob Kleinman | March 15, 2016March 15, 2016 7:00 pm PST

When we talk about the Hyperloop, it’s usually on a pretty big scale. The futuristic mode of transportation could connect LA to San Francisco, NY to DC, or even multiple countries around Europe. But the same technology could also replace a city subway system at a fraction of the price, at least according to the CEO of one company working to make the Hyperloop a reality.

Speaking at SXSW, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) CEO Dirk Ahlborn noted that the same low-pressure tube system could move people around within a single city. As an added bonus, riding the Hyperloop would theoretically be cheaper than a subway fare.

“L.A. to San Francisco, you are at a $30 price ticket, so then we have recovered our initial cost after eight years,” Ahlborn said (via Business Insider). “Inside the city, we are cheaper than a subway.”

Of course, we’re still a long way off from riding around town on the Hyperloop. According to Ahlborn, the first finished routes could transport humans by 2020. The company is currently building a test track in California, and eventually plans to connect LA and San Francisco. It also recently announced a partnership with the Slovakian government to explore a route between three Central European capitals.

It could be even longer before the same tubes are shuttling us around individual cities at insanely high speeds for a fraction of the cost. Still, if HTT or some other company can pull this off you could be riding the Hyperloop to work within your own lifetime.

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Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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