After heavy criticism from transportation planners for a tunneling project that would move cars below Los Angeles in a network of tubes, Elon Musk has switched gears and claims the Boring Company will now serve the needs of walkers and cyclists over vehicles.
In a series of tweets today, Musk said he’s adjusting the Boring Company’s strategy. “Will still transport cars but only after all personalized mass transit needs are met,” he wrote. “If someone can’t afford a car, they should go first.”
Will still transport cars, but only after all personalized mass transit needs are met. It’s a matter of courtesy & fairness. If someone can’t afford a car, they should go first.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 9, 2018
Musk went on to describe the new station design for the urban loop system, which is thousands of stations “the size of a single parking space” that “take you very close to your destination.” Hope he’s digging under Hawthorne fast, because he’s gonna need a heck of a lot of tunnels.
Better video coming soon, but it would look a bit like this: pic.twitter.com/C0iJPi8b4U— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 9, 2018
As with all Musk’s online messages, there’s a level of nuance that still leaves readers scratching their heads. “Personalized mass transit” is kind of an oxymoron here (the point of mass transit is that it’s not personalized) and it’s unclear what “go first” might mean when you’re talking about transit. The video shows many vehicles zooming underground—again, that’s a lot of tunnels—and it doesn’t seem like there’s any kind of prioritization.
Musk has always said that the Boring Company transit system would serve more than private cars, and he’s shared videos showing these subway-like vehicles in the mix since last June.
But in the last few months, he’s been taken to task by urbanists for making negative comments about public transit and for producing gag swag like a flamethrower, which makes it seem like he’s not taking transportation solutions seriously.
In December, transportation strategist Jarrett Walker called Musk out for not understanding how transit works, namely, that it requires prioritizing people over cars. Musk called Walker an idiot.
So far, the Boring Company website hasn’t been updated with details about the new mission. Curbed has reached out for comment.