August 14, 2015
It’s troubling when elected officials who make transportation decisions misrepresent advanced transit options like Personal Rapid Transit (PRT). Such was the case at Thursday’s Transportation Town Hall sponsored by the SJ Chamber of Commerce. Our State Senator dismissed the option of using above-ground PRT technology rather than underground BART by saying PRT did not have enough capacity. Although he believes that PRT cabs (or “podcars”), each carrying only 1 or 2 people, cannot deliver as many people per day as BART trains, he clearly did not run the numbers.
VTA projects daily ridership for the extension of BART from Berryessa to Santa Clara at 55,000, or about 28,000 each direction. If each computer-controlled podcar only contained 1 passenger, and headways (spacing between podcars) were the 2 seconds recommended for human-controlled cars, each PRT guideway could deliver 1800 people per hour (p/h) – or 86,400 passenger per day (1800 p/h x 24 hr). At a cost of $180M, PRT could provide 24/7 service, start operating years sooner, and save the taxpayer $4700M and the need for another screw-the-poor sales tax.
By Rob Means, Electric Bikes