Who needs a Hyperloop when you can have a private pod? Speed isn't everything.
Flying is pretty miserable these days; by the time you fight your way to the airport, get through security, wait for the plane to actually take off and then get to where you are going at the other end, it is often faster to drive. Flying also has a big carbon footprint; about the only form of transport that’s worse is driving alone in your car.
That’s why Cabin, a double decker sleeper bus that runs between San Francisco and Los Angeles, is such an interesting idea. It leaves at 11 PM and slowly drives for eight hours (the trip normally takes seven) which saves even more carbon and gives you enough time to get a good night’s sleep in their comfy pods that come with air conditioning and melatonin-infused water. If you can’t sleep, there’s a little lounge where the staff will serve you tea.
This is truly a wonderful idea. It’s fuel efficient and apparently quite comfortable. TechCrunch’s Megan Rose Dickey found the road rough on the way to LA but slept right through on the way home. She concluded:
Flying means I have to get to the airport at least an hour early, and deal with security lines and potential delays due to weather or some other nonsense (think SFO’s runway construction). Driving means I have to be awake in the car for several hours and even if I’m a passenger, I can’t fully stretch out my legs. With Cabin, I can board up to 10 minutes before the bus departs and pass out on a real, albeit small, bed.
The co-founder and President Gaetano Crupi tells Digital Trends that it is a bit of a throwback to an earlier age of travel, where getting there really was part of the experience. “What they would book is a cabin for that journey, and that personal space, that cabin, was as exciting as the destination itself.” This isn't quite the Orient Express, but it does have its charms.
“We were especially intrigued by the idea of falling asleep on Friday night and telling your car to take you somewhere very far away so you could spend Saturday there,” Crupi said. “That was the point that we really were interested in because this would make your neighborhood feel like it was a 500-mile radius area.”
This is not the cheapest way to get between the two cities; there are regular buses and even flying that costs less if you buy right. But at $115 each way, it is a lot cheaper than a hotel. Decades ago, when there were overnight sleeper trains in Europe, I knew people who would buy Eurail passes that gave access to sleeper accommodation. They would see Rome and Paris on alternate days, sleeping on the train every night. People could do that between LA and San Francisco and never need a hotel. Not TreeHugger correct, but cost-effective.
It’s not a Hyperloop, but it is a really sensible idea; speed isn’t everything.