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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.


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...