Urban Transport

Elon Musk's Las Vegas tunnel starts transporting its first passengers

Elon Musk's Las Vegas tunnel s...
A look inside an earlier test tunnel built by The Boring Company
A look inside an earlier test tunnel built by The Boring Company
View 3 Images
A look inside an earlier test tunnel built by The Boring Company
1/3
A look inside an earlier test tunnel built by The Boring Company
The Boring Company's passenger station beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center
2/3
The Boring Company's passenger station beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center
The Las Vegas Convention Center
3/3
The Las Vegas Convention Center
View gallery - 3 images

Around two years after having the project approved and one year after finishing construction of the tunnel, The Boring Company's transport loop beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center has now started transporting passengers. The system shuttles convention attendees between underground stations beneath the facility, and is hoped to be the first section of an expanding transport network across city.

As it stands, The Boring Company's Las Vegas Convention Center Loop consists of a pair of one-way tunnels that connect passenger three stations built around 40 ft (12 m) beneath ground level. The entire end-to-end 1.7-mile (2.7-km) journey can be completed in less than two minutes, with passengers able to hop on and off electric Teslas that are steered through the narrow tubes by a human driver at top speeds of around 40 mph (64 km/h), according to Fast Company.

The Boring Company's passenger station beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center
The Boring Company's passenger station beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center

Those familiar with The Boring Company's plans may note this is a far cry from the vision held by founder Elon Musk when starting the venture around five years ago. Musk imagined elevators lowering vehicles down from street level on skates, before deploying them onto tracks in underground tunnel networks and traveling autonomously at high speeds. In fact, The Boring Company's own website still states the Loop vehicles can travel at up to 150 mph (240 km/h).

While its first tangible commercial operation might seem underwhelming compared to such lofty ambitions, the company says the Loop is capable of transporting 4,400 passengers per hour, and plans are afoot to expand the system to include a new stop at a nearby casino and, eventually, other landmarks in Sin City. This concept is known as the Vegas Loop and, according to the company, could include as many as 43 stations and move 51,000 passengers an hour.

Source: Las Vegas Convention Center

View gallery - 3 images
14 comments
14 comments
Deres
It seems the two extremities stations are at ground level, not underground and with pedestrian passageways to leave them. And there is only 12 vehicles currently.
UncleToad
Suppose you miss your stop, does this mean you have go around the complete loop again before you reach it? Surely a two-way system might be more practical for the users.
paul314
4400 passengers per hour is about I passenger per second. So you could get the same result (with less fanfare) by having people walk through the tunnel single file. Four abreast would be more than 15,000 travelers per hour.
dugnology
Baby steps. Eventually, for 12 vehicles they can hand build a body to mount onto a model y chassis and put more people in it more comfortably.
clay
It's a start. It is likely it will improve. In the startup world, we call that an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). :-)

The poor quality of the [concrete] pour.... is alarming though. I suppose I expected more precision. Look at the slot the car/skate navigates...up in that image^ it meanders a good bit.
lbeck37
You've got to start somewhere (human drivers, slow speeds). Elon does shoot for the moon on his ventures, and in one (Space X) he really does! So for it seems that every venture Elon says he is going to do, he does do, unlike companies like Fisker and all the other vaporware electric cars. It will be interesting to see if the Loop cars ever get close to 150 mph. Maybe it will be in a Plaid or a new Roadster!. BTW, it's called a loop but it's bi-directional like a subway, if you miss your station you get off at the next one and cross over and take the other loop back.
BlueOak
The impressive aspect?

“Around two years after having the project approved”

Normal govt projects like this require 5-7 years to go live.

When Elon Musk takes something on, he accomplishes it with speed.

Look at the rapid 1-2 month test cycles at sister SpaceX.
Kevin Ritchey
Vegas is just a test bed. Years from now there will be either a new mode of transport or a dead planet. Humans are a poor example of sentient beings. Anything is possible.
eMacPaul
@paul314, you could get more travelers per hour by walking, but it'll take them a lot more than 2 minutes to travel the 1.7 miles.
Hugh Shipman
Isn't this just called a subway--albeit, one without a train which is weird? I see nothing of note here. I love SpaceX. I'm not too thrilled with Elon's other endeavors. Perhaps he should stick with doing SpaceX.