Photo from http://www.taxi2000.com/
As BART directors agonize over unions and competition from AC Transit and airport parking, e-mailer Jerry Schneider tells me he’s got just the aspirin for BART’s headache.Call it the little people mover, which has been dreamed up in many varieties, all of which sport the same main attributes.
One, they can operate on an elevated track, just like the more traditional airport-style, driverless people mover BART is contemplating.
Two, they’re allegedly cheap. And the best part is, three, they’re adorable and everyone will want to ride them, maybe even pay $5 a head as BART plans now envision for the big-boy people mover.
A professor emeritus at the University of Washington’s Civil & Environmental Engineering Program, Schneider wrote:
There are lots of possibilities for doing this job quickly and at a much lower cost and for much lower fares.
Examples include some of the innovative transit systems that I monitor at my ITT website. It includes descriptions of more than 100 innovative systems from around the world. Some are operational, some are under development and some are still conceptual. All are electric, environmentally benign, low cost, easy to quickly construct and useful for both intercity and intracity travel.
He included a bevy of websites on such inventions, so decide for yourself how viable any of them might be.
There’s the Cabintaxi, a phone booth-looking vehicle that hangs from or rides upon an elevated track.
Then there’s the Information Age-appropriate SkyWeb Express (pictured here), which has that cuddly Beetlesque pregnant look.
The ULTra runs on a flat track.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based Megarail promises “near-term, no-cost-to-taxpayer transportation solutions.”
Cybertran could, one imagines, navigate the flatlands of Oakland more effectively than I could get around its website.
Austrans, like several others on this list, could easily be confused with a Tomorrowland car.
And I think the Urban Monobeam System just about says it.
The Urbanaut has the cachet of “semimaglev” technology while on display as a garden railway-looking toy train set. A cheaper version runs on rubber tires, not a magnetic field, and might win a race with a Vespa.
Nominate your choice today and type up your recommendation on the BART rider feeback page.