Special to the Post
Imagine public transit that costs a quarter of the cost of light rail to buy, paid for itself out of the fare box and was able to transport as many people per hour as a BART system, moved from point to point in half the time of conventional rail, and was totally powered by solar energy generated on the canopy over the right of way.
BART, one of the most cost efficient rail operations in the United States, with 64 percent of its operating and maintenance costs derived from earnings (fares etc.), could become even more cost effective if end-of-line feeder services provided fare-paying passengers to load otherwise empty vehicles.
CyberTran’s 20-passenger vehicles will take passengers direct to their destinations, load and offload at offline stations so the main lines are not slowed by slowing and stopped vehicles, and thus maintain an average speed nearly twice that of conventional rail.
The vehicles will need only lightweight (and therefore inexpensive) structures that can be blended into the urban environment, where stations can be outside –or even inside the second- or third-floor of buildings.
Because a fresh start can be made, the rail can be at the center of Transit Oriented Development instead of being at the fringe (imagine Disney World Hotels for example).
Because the capital cost is under $25 million per mile (compared to typical Light Rail at $100 million and heavy rail in the range of $200 million to $400 million), the capital costs of Ultra-Light Rail can be paid out of land value increases caused by the developments around the stations, and not fall on federal, state and local tax payers, as is the current model of rail transit.
In addition to these benefits to taxpayers, there is also a significant gain in good paying jobs. Though the system will be driverless, the extensive unsubsidized systems will require more maintenance personnel per mile than conventional transit that requires drivers and maintenance staff to service the high tech systems at the core of the railway.
Since CyberTran intends to build its vehicles in Richmond for systems in the United States, there will be full time and long standing production jobs.
As the Ultra-Light Rail System grows organically, it will solve the three problems besetting conventional transit:
Taxpayers will not have to subsidize the operation; taxpayers will not have to subsidize the capital acquisitions: and it will go where people need it to go.