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

Discussion in 'Commuter Rail and Rail Transit Discussion' started by John Bredin, Jun 14, 2018.

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  1. Jun 14, 2018 #1

    John Bredin

    John Bredin

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    Or at least the City of Chicago accepted the Boring Company bid. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/99494771-132.html

    I'd love to see this come to fruition, and Musk seems to be the type who can attract investors, *except* that using 16-passenger [del]vans[/del] vehicles make this sound:

    (1) less than viable, as it would seem to lack sufficient capacity or through-put, and

    (2) a conscious effort by Musk to *not* resemble old-fashioned [del]boring[/del] trains.
     
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  2. Jun 14, 2018 #2

    Ryan

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  3. Jun 14, 2018 #3

    Anderson

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    I swear that I remember watching an old cartoon from the 1960s showing off an idea like this, just with personal cars instead of transit vehicles...and IIRC it was implied that those would be self-driving.
     
  4. Jun 14, 2018 #4

    Anderson

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    Also, I know that Musk owns a boring company, but which one is it?:p
     
  5. Jun 14, 2018 #5

    penguinflies

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    I like the idea of an express train, but most of the pax traffic from/to ord seems to get on west of western. Once I was on a blue line and it ran express from the city to western to belmont to logan sq then local to ord. That ride was real nice and I totally get the allure of an express service. I just wonder how many people will ditch ubers and cabs for their downtown trip. My company directs us to use ubers over all other modes of transport, even when uber is more expensive.

    The ride on metra to ohare transfer station is great as well, but the 6pm train to ohare usually only lets out 4-5 people at ohare transfer. Getting from the transfer station to the terminals is easy and a bit of a pain until they open the new rental car facility, which is located literally to the transfer station. Sadly, it appears no one consulted the rail line as it appears with a bit of work, the ohare transfer stop could have been integrated into the rental car facility and it could have been an under roof transfer instead of having to walk out on the street for a bit.
     
  6. Jun 16, 2018 #6

    Anderson

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    Having taken the Blue Line out to ORD as well as having taken a taxi into town, I think the underlying issue is that the ride on the train does start getting a little long without facilities or the ability, as far as I know, to hop off and use them in a station. The lack of a direct connection to the other lines, or indeed any of the rail terminals, in downtown doesn't help if you're lugging luggage, and IIRC the cars really aren't set up for substantial luggage loads.
     
  7. Jun 17, 2018 #7

    MARC Rider

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    Most people who fly don't carry much more than a roller bag and a backpack, at least that's what I've observed. I've rode around on the subway with a roller bag/backpack on BART, New York subway, Boston T, DC Metro, CTA Blue Line, and London Piccadilly line with no problem (except for stairs). And if you think the Blue line from O'Hare is a long ride, try riding into central London on the Piccadilly line from Heathrow!
     
  8. Jun 17, 2018 #8

    Devil's Advocate

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    Like most airports, O'Hare and Midway seem to focus on connecting tourists with taxis and rental cars that rush you as quickly as possible into the nearest traffic jam with metro access left as a distant half-measure afterthought. I can make it work because I travel light and I'm fully ambulatory but it doesn't work nearly as well for people who struggle to move or carry lots of luggage. I'm glad the Orange and Blue lines exist, and I'll almost always chose them over a taxi, but they're not close to being as quick and easy as they could be if they were the focus instead of taxis and rental cars.

    If that's true then I wonder what what exactly requires all those check-in desks, transport conveyors, cargo holds, and pickup carousels. Some of those systems cost upwards of a half-billion dollars. The airlines didn't start charging for luggage because they thought nobody would bother; they started charging because they knew millions of passengers would be forced to pay.
     
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  9. Jun 17, 2018 #9

    Pere Flyer

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    You must not have flown Southwest “2 free checked bags” Airlines [​IMG]
     
  10. Jun 17, 2018 #10

    cpotisch

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    I don't think I've ever checked a bag on a domestic flight. I always take my backpack and a small roller suitcase, and that's it. I just don't need more than that. And I would agree that any normal person going on vacation for a normal amount of time, doesn't need much more than that.
     
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  11. Jun 17, 2018 #11

    Ryan

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    And of the dozens of flights I’ve taken for work in the past three years, I’ve never *not* checked a bag.

    Anecdotes are worthless.

    On average, for every passenger on a flight, there are 1.1 prices of checked luggage. Those that check nothing are more than balanced out by those checking more than two (which isn’t enough information to judge the original claim that “most people” don’t check luggage), but it’s better than dueling anecdotes.
     
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  12. Jun 17, 2018 #12

    Devil's Advocate

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    Don't take this the wrong way, but have you ever traveled on business or with a girlfriend? Because I think you're likely to find that "need" can be a relative term. [​IMG]
     
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  13. Jun 17, 2018 #13

    Trogdor

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    What does going on vacation for a normal amount of time mean, anyway? What defines normal?

    And I agree about business travel. I often have two-week trips for work, and dont have time to hunt for a laundromat (and getting the hotel to do laundry is so ridiculously expensive it ought not to be legal). That means bringing clean clothes to last two weeks, plus business shoes and athletic shoes, plus all the stuff I need for work.

    If Im traveling for pleasure for only a few days, then sure I can get away with a backpack and maybe a small rollaboard, but if anyone on vacation wants to pick up souvenirs...

    Of course, my main issue with this project is that it doesnt actually address a real transportation need in Chicago (at least, not a very big one). And, private funding or not. These resources would be better allocated elsewhere.

    Maybe Elon Musk is really Lyle Lanley.
     
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  14. Jun 17, 2018 #14

    MARC Rider

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    Actually BWI is my home airport, I fly mainly on Southwest, and I always check my roller bag. I once tried carrying it on, and it was more trouble than the slight time savings on arrival is worth. I'm not alone, nearly all the bags I see on the carousel are roller bags.
     
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  15. Jun 17, 2018 #15

    me_little_me

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    So sayest one who has no small children (diapers, toys, lots of changes of clothes, car seats, strollers and ...) or is not elderly? We used to travel to Europe with an unfull carry-on each but now, it doesn't work that way any more. Nor can we lift those carry-ons into overheads on planes, up the stairs on trains and into trunks of cars.
     
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  16. Jun 18, 2018 #16

    Ziv

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    I asked my girlfriend if she needed a 32 ounce bottle of shampoo in her luggage when we were getting ready to fly to Thailand. I was telling her that she could carry a small container of shampoo and then buy a medium sized one when we got there. It was like I asked her to fly there by flapping her arms. She was that mad at me for trying to make her luggage 2 pounds lighter.

    I ended up carrying that monstrosity of a bag whenever the sidewalks got rough, too.

     
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  17. Jun 18, 2018 #17

    AmtrakBlue

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    She needs to try a shampoo bar. I just heard about them and think they’d be great for traveling.
    This is one brand if seen.

    https://www.lushusa.com/hair/shampoo-bars/
     
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  18. Jun 18, 2018 #18

    jis

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    Hey! Ya never know what brand of shampoo you may or may not get in Thailand, you know? [​IMG]
     
  19. Jun 18, 2018 #19

    cirdan

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    Old fashioned thinking maybe?

    Times have moved on. Airlines haven't?

    Charging for check-ins has only encouraged people to stretch carry-on rules to the absolute limit.

    That, and airlines continuously losing people's luggage.

    It's almost as if they installed this super costly infrastructure and are now doing everything in their power to make sure nobody uses it. [​IMG]
     
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  20. Jun 18, 2018 #20

    cirdan

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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.

    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.

    Obviously there are exceptions.

    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.
     
  21. Jun 18, 2018 #21

    jis

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    Actually it is more like reducing the need for further investment in checked luggage infrastructure. Given the rate at which ridership is increasing, there is a lot of incentive to reduce the amount of checked baggage per passenger to handle, and I don't think any airline is feeling that they have a lot of idle capacity for checked baggage hanging around. This is a fantasy of the AU land. [​IMG]

    Irrespective of business or otherwise, one has to be crazy to try to take the Blue Line in Chicago with a pile of baggage. The shared shuttle services (Blue Smurfs and others) are quite cost effective and much more suitable for carting around piles of baggage. Indeed, when I traveled to Chicago on business I never even remotely considered taking the Blue Line.

    OTOH, in London, even on business trips, I have always taken the Piccadilly Line or the Heathrow Express/Connect, depending on what my destination is within London. The difference is that the Blue Line is just not as user friendly as the Piccadilly Line or the rail services to Heathrow.
     
  22. Jun 18, 2018 #22

    Ryan

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    I disagree with your premise on business travelers not being cost sensitive. My experience in both government and private industries are that the company puts in place rather stringent policies to keep costs down.

    Also, a significant number of people don’t have the “just expense it” ability and instead have a fixed per diem. Every dollar of that I don’t spend is free money in my pocket, so I’m much more inclined to live cheaply whilst on travel.
     
  23. Jun 18, 2018 #23

    jis

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    Yeah, there is no one single paradigm that fits all business as far as their treatment of travel costs go. There is a whole spectrum ranging for complete freedom to do whatever, typically true of private sector senior professionals in small to medium companies, through booking of all travel through designated travel agency enforcing policies, but allowed to spend upto a threshold on daily expenditures and get reimbursed, and to per diem and that's it for food, and sometimes even for local transport.

    OTOH, for leisure travel there is a full spectrum too starting from the "minimize cost at any cost at one end to spend money for a good time at the other end. Frankly on many intercontinental flights, I am surprised to see how many people travel on their own dime on vacations in the front cabin of the plane, and also how many "business people" following company policy, are cooped up in the rear cabin. Life is full of surprises I suppose.
     
  24. Jun 18, 2018 #24

    Trogdor

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    Your view of business travel is a bit...off.

    The number of people with "not very cost sensitive" travel privileges is small, and dwindling every year. Companies are putting more and more restrictive policies in place on booking travel in order to cut costs (as the Bill Gates character in an old Simpsons episode said: "I didn't get this rich by writing checks"). Employees are often required to book the cheapest fare, or at least cheapest within limits. Paying $1000 for a flexible ticket instead of $300 for a nonrefundable ticket doesn't make sense if you're using that ticket more often than not.

    There may be business travelers out there wearing suits, but plenty of folks wear normal clothes on the plane, and change before/after.

    I often see plenty of large bags on the Blue Line, though my impression is that they are often tourists going home on a long international flight.
     
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  25. Jun 18, 2018 #25

    Devil's Advocate

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    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.

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

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