Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Is the Latest News About ULTra Heathrow Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) Launch Serious?

There was a mention on the internet of a new launch date for the glorified golf carts of Heathrow:

BAA is also due next month to launch a system of robotic cars, or a Personal Rapid Transit system, to ferry passengers between the T5 Business passengers’ car park and the terminal without having to wait for a shuttle bus.

The ULTra site:

It is anticipated that the system will go fully live this summer, with the 21 pod vehicles operating 22 hours a day.

"It is anticipated"? Why aren't they more certain? A little history may help explain why they only anticipate going public...

Before Heathrow, the ULTra folks said they were ready to go six years ago - "The system was to have started carrying passengers at Cardiff Bay in 2005".

July 23, 2004: "the system could be in place at Heathrow by 2006"

21 October 2008: "... we are very much looking forward to launching this to passengers in 2009."

2010 (broken link, screenshot HERE): "Testing of the PRT System is continuing and, with all installation and communications challenges now resolved, we anticipate commencing passenger services in late Spring 2010.""

September 14, 2010: "We may find that we are allowed to gradually move to full operation unannounced later this summer."

This lack of certainty has not helped the credibility of the as-yet unproved pod "system" as PRT promoter Steve Raney explains in this video:

Meanwhile, here in Minnesota, there's an effort to get legislative support for the proposed PRT project in Coon Rapids. The session is scheduled to end in May... just before the new launch date. Hmmmmmmmm.....

Recent news about the ongoing, worldwide pod boondoggle:

Another Crackpot Personal Rapid Transit Proposal Bites the Dust (Almelo)

Strange Minnesota industry - 3 Proposed PRT Projects, 6 PRT Companies and 2 PRT Lobbyists.

Former Rep. Mark Olson Returns to Capitol as a lobbyist for would-be PRT vendor proposing $100 million pod project in Coon Rapids.

The CPRT table at U of M Jobs Fair. Convicted felon is spokesman for the CPRT.

Daventry citizens say "Pods Off" to PRT TWICE!

Duluth News Tribune article about Taxi 2000 trying to restart Duluth pod project - hilarious comments.

The Pawlenty administration wasted thousands of taxpayers' dollars promoting personal rapid transit .

PRT is so not happening at Heathrow.

Pod people invade Newport News ( the article quotes retired professor Vukan Vuchic)

Bizarre hearing for wacky Jpods proposal for Hull, Massachusetts. Video: Bill James Pitches Jpods Resolution to Hennepin County.

Taxi 2000 Corporation spent nearly $80K on lobbying in Minnesota in 5 years. Taxi 2000 lobbyist and Bachmann pal Ed Cain also lobbied for the phony U.S. Navy Veterans Association charity.

Federal Funding Nixed for Winona Personal Rapid Transit Project

The Swedish/Korean PRT prototype malfunctioned in front of the media.

The Masdar PRT (actually computer-guided golf carts that follow magnets imbedded in the roadway) has been scaled way back, This setback got a mention in the NY Times and confirmed in this Bloomberg article. New post-mortem: "Masdar City Abandons Transportation System of the Future".

The so-called Morgantown PRT (not a true PRT system) was the subject of a student newspaper editorial after a malfunction created a "fireball" and filled a vehicle with smoke. The cost of fixing the Morgantown boondoggle is $93 million. Twitter Reveals Morgantown WVU Personal Rapid Transit's Frequent Breakdowns.

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