Hang in there, urbanites: The issue of congestion will not be solved by electrifying and sharing passenger cars alone and so a new startup is out to make public transport more fun to use.
Transit X proposes a network of solar-powered pods suspended from an elevated rail. Power is supplied by solar cells attached to the track. Moreover, the support poles will hold batteries so that the pods may charge while they park. Each carbon fibre pod is large enough for up to five people and the idea is to stay as close to private transport as possible.
Says Mike Stanley, CEO of Transit X: “People don’t like to wait. They want to have a single seat and a private experience. So if you’re going to replace the dominant mode share of cars, you’d better give them something that they’ve already expressed a preference for rather than trying to force them into saying ‘use mass transit because it’s better for the environment.'”
So far the company has designed prototypes but the capital of the Philippines has already expressed interest to install a small network.
Transit X believes that the system can only work if rolled out fast and across entire cities. Once done though, the startup estimates the public elevated rail could finance itself as it requires neither fuel nor drivers. Also construction is cheaper than digging tunnels for a metro system.
Cities interested to work with Transit X are promised 5% in fees and taxes for the right to an easement for the space it uses and the firm says it wants to keep the cost of tickets very low. In the first system, which the company has signed a deal to build in a suburb of Manila, the operating cost will be less than 5¢ per passenger mile, according to Transit X.