The city of Oakland is building a new elevated rail line to connect their BART station to the airport. It’s not a complicated line – like most airport shuttles, an unmanned train will simply shuttle back and forth every 5 minutes. I believe they’re using the cable technology common for the application.
Construction is moving along well, but this certainly caught my eye:
The connector will replace the Oakland AirBART buses, operated by the
Port of Oakland, that now take passengers to and from the airport using
local streets. Construction is expected to end late this year, and will
be followed by about a year of testing.
A year of testing? If that is accurate, it’s ludicrous. A few weeks ago, I brought up how nice it would be if rail lines could be built like roller coasters. That post was mostly in jest, as a light rail line doesn’t have that much in common with a roller coaster. However, if there’s one form of mass transit that most closely resembles a theme park ride, it’s an airport cable shuttle.
Over at The Coaster Guy, we see a coaster that is under construction, and will open around memorial day. They will test for two weeks, maybe three.
We should expect similar from a system as simple as an airport rail shuttle.
Sometimes it seems like the onerous rules in place aren’t there for safety, but are an attempt to make transit projects less attractive. It’s like the way the TSA can harass transit passengers. Do you think the TSA would ever set up a road block before a Manhattan tunnel and check the trunk of every vehicle for explosives? Of course not, it would be an enormous inconvenience.
How about forcing drivers to do a year of testing? That is, before getting a license, a full year of training with a certified instructor. That would certainly make our roads much, much safer, and indeed many countries do require many hours of driving with a trainer before being able to apply for a license. I’d wager that the safety benefits would be many times bigger than requiring a cable-shuttle to move back and forth for a year. Why don’t I think that would ever happen?