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John Bredin

Elon Musk's Boring Company to build O'Hare-downtown tunnel

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As for refundable tickets, a fact that is not well known is that many large companies have deals with one or two preferred airlines which includes pooling of unused nonrefundable fares for use by any employee of the company booked through designated travel agent. They also get a post facto kickback for meeting certain usage thresholds specified in the contract with the preferred airlines. So company travelers can basically use nonrefundable fares as if they are refundable as far as the company is concerned. This is what leads to the corporate travel agent forcing you to buy a ticket on a specific airline even with a somewhat higher fare than one can find on the internet. Net net it all costs the company less at the end of the year.

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I extremely rarely travel via public carrier on business, since we're expected to drive 99% of the time ( am a State employee for California.) But, if we are traveling by way of a public carrier (airline/bus/train) then we adhere to the following rules:

 

  • No class of service higher than Coach (and including complementary upgrades; we are required to turn them down and insist on the purchased class of service.)
  • No deeply discounted/bargain fare Coach. Must have flexibility; the State prefers to pay Y - Full Fare Coach.

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  • we are required to turn them down and insist on the purchased class of service.)
Interesting... I imagine that's to prevent employees from pestering airlines and employees for upgrades? Edited by cpotisch

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  • we are required to turn them down and insist on the purchased class of service.)
Interesting... I imagine that's to prevent employees from pestering airlines and employees for upgrades?

 

I highly doubt its that, but I'm sure someone somewhere may have added that reasoning. It is undoubtedly all about perception; State employee on State business is a liability if sitting in a better seat (even if, say, Business was less money than Coach and thus was saving tax-payer money). Government employees are treated differently on the West Coast than the East Coast; there is a tremendous amount of skepticism and distrust of anyone in Government here. I get it all the time, and I'm one of the "Good Guys" (firefighter)!

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Before I retired, I almost always took transit and skipped the car rentals if possible and especially hated the overpriced, dirty taxis in most cities that had no real regulation of them. Transit, to me, was fun and educational.

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As for refundable tickets, a fact that is not well known is that many large companies have deals with one or two preferred airlines which includes pooling of unused nonrefundable fares for use by any employee of the company booked through designated travel agent. They also get a post facto kickback for meeting certain usage thresholds specified in the contract with the preferred airlines. So company travelers can basically use nonrefundable fares as if they are refundable as far as the company is concerned. This is what leads to the corporate travel agent forcing you to buy a ticket on a specific airline even with a somewhat higher fare than one can find on the internet. Net net it all costs the company less at the end of the year.

 

In my company we have freuqntly recurring drives to cut costs. But I have yet to see one focus on the actual costs, but more on asking people whether they need to travel at all and pushing them towards video conferencing and such unless there is a really pressing reason for a face to face meeting.

 

So I often have to justify, why do i need to make this trip. I have yet had to justify, why so expensive?

 

The reason being that such trips are mostly booked through an approved travel agent who claims to be more cost efficient. But I always get a booking with checked luggage for example. It's not something they ever ask me about. I can't verify that it is still cheaper nevertheless. I'll have to take their word for it, even if i am sceptical. But definitely when it comes to ground transportation they don't offer any support or advice there but just tell me to make my own way and expense whatever it takes. I always try to be as cost conscious as possible but many of my co-workers don't care. This has never been an issue as far as I know.

 

And travel flexbility often does matter. Sometimes when a customer''s system goies down it can be because somebody left their coffee mug on the reset button, or didn't realize you need to turn the power on. We can be on the next flight home. Sometimes we need to spend three days troubleshooting, two days waiting for a part, a day installing it and another day testing. These things cannot be predicted.

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Business travellers are typically not very cost sensitive, seeing they can charge everything on expenses. And also fly high bucket anyway for the flexibility. So the business market is quite a different one to the leisure market.

That hasn't been my experience at all. Every single business travel expense had a target range and a maximum reimbursable cost. Exceptions had to be preapproved before travel. Only last minute emergency trips were immune to these restrictions.

 

 

I'm venturing a wild guess here, but my general feeling is that, business travellers are also more likely to use taxis, Ubers or other personalized systems rather than bog-standard transit. I've only done Chicago's Blue Line a handful of times. But I don't recall seeing many suits and ties there, or many particularly large bags either.

No argument there. In my experience it's much easier to explain a $50 taxi charge than a $5.00 commuter rail pass.

 

My understanding is that a number of companies have refundable/exchangable policies, depending on those arrangements. Nobody wants to lose a seat and then have to buy a walkup fare because your immediate superior held you up for another hour at the office (or the client meeting ran long).

 

And I'm reminded of someone (on here, I think) who was given utter hell by his accounting department for buying a subway pass instead of driving everywhere in New York City.

 

As to the leisure customers "up front", I wonder what portion of those are cash fares and what portion are points redemptions (either full redemptions or upgrades).

Edited by Anderson

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  • we are required to turn them down and insist on the purchased class of service.)
Interesting... I imagine that's to prevent employees from pestering airlines and employees for upgrades?

 

I highly doubt its that, but I'm sure someone somewhere may have added that reasoning. It is undoubtedly all about perception; State employee on State business is a liability if sitting in a better seat (even if, say, Business was less money than Coach and thus was saving tax-payer money). Government employees are treated differently on the West Coast than the East Coast; there is a tremendous amount of skepticism and distrust of anyone in Government here. I get it all the time, and I'm one of the "Good Guys" (firefighter)!

 

 

I concur.

 

Some of our customers are governments or government agencies or arm's lengh companies owned by governments.

 

For various reasons, not least of which is keeping well clear of anything that looks like corruption, we are not allowed to offer any presents or perks beyond a certain threshold to anybody who is or may be a government empoyee.

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Some of our customers are governments or government agencies or arm's lengh companies owned by governments.

 

For various reasons, not least of which is keeping well clear of anything that looks like corruption, we are not allowed to offer any presents or perks beyond a certain threshold to anybody who is or may be a government empoyee.

Yes indeed!

And each time some executive screwed up and got fired, we in the trenches were retrained on these matters with additional vigor. In any case it was at least a refresher training once a year on Code of Conduct.

 

It used to be interesting within the company too, where we are allowed to get and use award upgrades on tickets that were bought according to company rules through the company travel agent. Since I travel a lot on my own dime, I often had a much higher status than many who had their status if any, only through company travel. So there would be many occasions when I would have an upgrade go through and I'd be sitting in First or Business, while my boss and his boss walked by me to the rear cabin. But they knew that I am a travel nut and will go for a weekend trip cross country if I could find a $250 round trip fare, just for the heck of it. One thing good about 757s and wide bodies is that the folks in Y do not have to walk by all of the rows of various upper classes.

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So back to the actual Muskel - do people see it getting built and opened as planned, let alone on schedule?

Based on Tesla, I'd guess a few miles will get done but a lot longer than planned with a lot of noise and little action.

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So back to the actual Muskel - do people see it getting built and opened as planned, let alone on schedule?

Based on Tesla, I'd guess a few miles will get done but a lot longer than planned with a lot of noise and little action.

 

 

That's sort of my fear too. I'm wondering if the tunnel gets built and then, bang, it becomes an express CTA line.

 

I also still can't quite believe the very ambitious start schedule - there is, there are, a lot of complicated infrastructural elements in the path of the tunnel that will need to be accurately mapped and permits to be issued before he can start - I just can't see them having assembled all of that as quickly as claimed.

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So back to the actual Muskel - do people see it getting built and opened as planned, let alone on schedule?

Based on Tesla, I'd guess a few miles will get done but a lot longer than planned with a lot of noise and little action.

 

 

That's sort of my fear too. I'm wondering if the tunnel gets built and then, bang, it becomes an express CTA line.

 

I also still can't quite believe the very ambitious start schedule - there is, there are, a lot of complicated infrastructural elements in the path of the tunnel that will need to be accurately mapped and permits to be issued before he can start - I just can't see them having assembled all of that as quickly as claimed.

 

 

Reality check. Expect maybe symbolic tunneling. At the price Elon's disposible front corp corp quoted -- A) the mayor was right to sign on. -- B) because the tunnel and line won't ever happen.

Maybe the Mayor and Council will get free flamethrowers !! Maybe every Chicogoan will get a free flamethower !!

There is no way a new tunnel and express service parallel the Blue Line will ever be built or save anyone money or ever make a profit. Maybe at places like Narita or Dulles -- no not there either -- agents of governments and billionaires can take a chopper from Narita or Dulles of Ohare or Kennedy to like Meigs -- haha

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I also still can't quite believe the very ambitious start schedule - there is, there are, a lot of complicated infrastructural elements in the path of the tunnel that will need to be accurately mapped and permits to be issued before he can start - I just can't see them having assembled all of that as quickly as claimed.

What is the propsed path?

Edited by NorthShore

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I also still can't quite believe the very ambitious start schedule - there is, there are, a lot of complicated infrastructural elements in the path of the tunnel that will need to be accurately mapped and permits to be issued before he can start - I just can't see them having assembled all of that as quickly as claimed.

What is the propsed path?

 

 

I don't think it has been determined, although I imagine under or near the Kennedy Expressway would be the most direct route. Quite frankly, if this gets built, I will be quite surprised. It just seem like pie in the sky. Musk seems to be promising everything to everybody.

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I also still can't quite believe the very ambitious start schedule - there is, there are, a lot of complicated infrastructural elements in the path of the tunnel that will need to be accurately mapped and permits to be issued before he can start - I just can't see them having assembled all of that as quickly as claimed.

What is the propsed path?

 

 

I don't think it has been determined, although I imagine under or near the Kennedy Expressway would be the most direct route. Quite frankly, if this gets built, I will be quite surprised. It just seem like pie in the sky. Musk seems to be promising everything to everybody.

 

 

I keep (well, kept, haven't checked up lately) hearing that it'll run under streets and existing rights of way, so little to no legalities of being under private property. I really don't know much about the law for that here - we have the deep tunnel system for drainage here, I think it runs under private property in places. The cta subway sections here don't run under buildings much, if at all, nor does the old freight tunnel system.

 

There's still the issue of avoiding underground utilities, though if it's deep enough not an issue, but there is still, you know, geology to deal with, borings and core samples to take. And of course, it'll have to avoid the deep tunnel and you'll need access points to remove tailings, emergency access/egress, etc, on the surface. Depending upon how deep they go it could be through bedrock or through clay if shallower (I'm assuming clay because that's what seems to get removed at high rise construction around here when the drill for caissons or footings). I know the deep tunnel system is bored through bedrock, which around here is limestone.

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I also still can't quite believe the very ambitious start schedule - there is, there are, a lot of complicated infrastructural elements in the path of the tunnel that will need to be accurately mapped and permits to be issued before he can start - I just can't see them having assembled all of that as quickly as claimed.

What is the propsed path?

I don't think it has been determined, although I imagine under or near the Kennedy Expressway would be the most direct route. Quite frankly, if this gets built, I will be quite surprised. It just seem like pie in the sky. Musk seems to be promising everything to everybody.

I keep (well, kept, haven't checked up lately) hearing that it'll run under streets and existing rights of way, so little to no legalities of being under private property. I really don't know much about the law for that here - we have the deep tunnel system for drainage here, I think it runs under private property in places. The cta subway sections here don't run under buildings much, if at all, nor does the old freight tunnel system.

 

There's still the issue of avoiding underground utilities, though if it's deep enough not an issue, but there is still, you know, geology to deal with, borings and core samples to take. And of course, it'll have to avoid the deep tunnel and you'll need access points to remove tailings, emergency access/egress, etc, on the surface. Depending upon how deep they go it could be through bedrock or through clay if shallower (I'm assuming clay because that's what seems to get removed at high rise construction around here when the drill for caissons or footings). I know the deep tunnel system is bored through bedrock, which around here is limestone.

How deep is the water table? If the tunnel is below the water table, how will they keep it dewatered?

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By making it watertight?

It must be a hyperloop from O’Hare to Millennium!

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I also still can't quite believe the very ambitious start schedule - there is, there are, a lot of complicated infrastructural elements in the path of the tunnel that will need to be accurately mapped and permits to be issued before he can start - I just can't see them having assembled all of that as quickly as claimed.

What is the propsed path?

 

 

As per the description Boring Company included in their proposal, The Chicago Tribune came up with this-

 

w4nAlqP.png

img src - Chicago Tribune

 

Musk certainly got more than his share of publicity with this announcement, and I believe Rahm is hoping to influence Amazon's HQ2 decision with this bit of whiz-bang technology. My concern is that if Musk's high-speed butter dishes never materialize, the idea of an airport express will be too toxic for a long time afterwards.

 

I wonder whether we'll ever get to see the competing bid that lost out to Boring.

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By making it watertight?

It must be a hyperloop from OHare to Millennium!

1) If the tunnel is like my basement, which is sometime affected by rising water tables, it might be difficult to make it watertight. On the other hand there are lotes of underwater tunnels, e.g

Hudson River tubes, a good part of the New York subway, etc, so I guess this can be engineered.

 

2) But isn't the concrpt of the Hyperloop the fact that the tunnel is a vaccuun? That might make the engineering a bit more complicated and expensive.

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By making it watertight?

It must be a hyperloop from OHare to Millennium!

1) If the tunnel is like my basement, which is sometime affected by rising water tables, it might be difficult to make it watertight. On the other hand there are lotes of underwater tunnels, e.g

Hudson River tubes, a good part of the New York subway, etc, so I guess this can be engineered.

 

2) But isn't the concrpt of the Hyperloop the fact that the tunnel is a vaccuun? That might make the engineering a bit more complicated and expensive.

 

 

Consideatble chunks of London's Tube system are below the water table. And they were built more than 100 years ago.

 

The technique used then was to maintain a higher air pressure in the tunneling shield. Of course that didn't totally stop ingress , just slowed it down, but they also had pumping machines to move that water out.

 

Another part of the story was that tunnels were intentionally routed through layers of clay with a lower water content. This is why test borings were required beforehand and extensive 3-D geological maps created.

 

I would assume that 100 years on, a much better job could be done.

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The technique used then was to maintain a higher air pressure in the tunneling shield. Of course that didn't totally stop ingress , just slowed it down, but they also had pumping machines to move that water out.

 

 

 

 

That's fine while you're digging the tunnel, but the point of a hyerloop is that the finished tube is evacuated and the train runs in a vacuum. I suppose you can seal the finished tube pretty well, but no engineered structure is perfect, so I'm not sure how this is going to be any better than a conventional subway with express stops.

Edited by MARC Rider

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Another part of the story was that tunnels were intentionally routed through layers of clay with a lower water content. This is why test borings were required beforehand and extensive 3-D geological maps created.

 

I would assume that 100 years on, a much better job could be done.

 

After 100 years, geophysical sounding methods are better, so maybe you don't have to drill so much, but you can't totally avoid it. Also, while there may be clay layers in the downtown area of Chicago along the lake, most of the region is underlain by surficial glacial deposits, and at depth limestone. Limestone is highly permeable; in fact the water flows through open conduits dissolved from the rock, the locations of which can't always be detected from the surface. Not saying they can't do it, but it's going to be expensive as hell, and the geotechnical surveys might require some rerouting which will also drive up the cost. A good chance that the privately-funded project goes belly-up and the public sector is left holding the bag.

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