Thursday, January 6, 2011

Farcical Hearing for JPOD Proposal in Hull, Mass.

The Hull Sun:

At this week’s meeting, Van Hamm provided selectmen with an overview of the new scaled-back two-year trial run proposal to build a smaller one-mile system at a cost of around $9.5 million, which would run between the DCR parking lot on the bayside of Hull, to the beginning of the HRA property.

The new proposal calls for five stations with 67 pods, she said.

Van Hamm said there would be an economic growth potential provided by an uptick in visitors to the community, who she feels would view the Jpods as more of a novelty amusement park ride, which she envisions would bring a benefit to nearby businesses.

She estimated income of about $1.5 million a year from 2,000 riders in the warmer months and 1,000 riders in the winter paying $6 a ride.

Six bucks for a one mile ride?

“I would personally like to see the president or CEO from the company come down and do a more thorough presentation to the board,” Olivieri said.

Van Hamm asked Oliveri if he’d like to call James on his cell to get answers to some of the financial questions he has.

“No, we asked him before, and his response was he was going to sell t-shirts…. I want someone who can give us concrete answers,” said Olivieri.

Selectman John Brannan also voiced puzzlement over the figures that would make such a proposal work.

“If you have a lot of investors willing to lose money, please send them my way — I have a lot of ideas myself…. It’s not a build it, and they will come (situation),” said Brannan, saying he wants to see a marketing plan and more financial information about the plan.

Citing the interest of full disclosure, Brannan asked Van Hamm if she has any potential financial gain from this project, and she responded “I’m here as a resident of Hull.”

It's sad to see the yet another community waste time on Personal Rapid Transit. Hull is not alone. Scores of cities have had similar experiences with the PRT hucksters; Daventry, Duluth, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Winona, Long Branch, Indianapolis, Rosemount, Seattle, Cincinnati, Ithaca, Alameda, Denver and many more...

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