On December 16, 2016, Elon Musk tweets about being stuck in LA traffic and decided to do something about it. From his tweets, it was clear that he wanted an underground transportation system. A transportation system that enables Tesla cars to travel at a maximum speed of 125miles/hr (200km/hr) would be a dream come true for everyone. Or at least for tesla owners and Elon Musk fans. And naturally, everyone hyped up Boring Company’s CGI rendered promotional video about how influential Boring Company will be in near future and how they can solve traffic. From News Media outlets to Twitter users started praising Elon Musk for solving traffic.
Every year CES, a trade show is held in January in LVCC. During the event, the traffic would make it impossible for people attending the show to use Uber or take a bus ride. Because of this, people would have to walk their way to reach other halls of the convention center. That’s why in 2019, when The Boring Company (TBC) announced that they won its first commercial contract with Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) to build an underground transportation system in Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), tech enthusiasts were very excited about the project. On TBC’s official website, the project is 1.7 miles long — connecting West Hall and South Hall to Central Hall of the LVCC.
When the plan was announced about the project, many were excited to see the ‘next gen’ transportation system. But few noticed key details that would make it impossible for cars in the tunnel to reach speeds of 125miles/hr. Thunderf00t, a science educator on YouTube released a video called ‘ELON MUSKS AMAZING NEW BORING TUNNEL OPENS!!!!’ and ‘The Las Vegas ‘LOOP’: BUSTED!’. These two videos exposed TBC’s overpromising claims and stated that the results would be mediocre (foreshadowing). But people (Elon Musk fans) didn’t take him seriously.
The Day has Come
In April of 2021, TBC completed the project. And it was bad — really bad. The worst part was that it took them 2 years to dig only 1.7miles. People waited 2 years for a normal tunnel with RGB lights. The speed limit was 35miles/hr instead of promised 125miles/hr. And for this absolute trash of a transport system, Elon Musk received a severe backlash for lying and fake promises. The best part about this failed loop system was the comments and tweets about it.
I have a genius idea, instead of cars we put a bunch of trains that can carry a lot more people — Jay Calc (video he commented on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzf_uYwJAc0 )
The equivalent of your parents promising a trip to Disney world and just take you to a low effort playground. — Shane (video he commented on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91-qwftOYVc&t=22s )
It’s like a taxi underground! wow! — me
[This the part where I criticize CNBC’s horrendously bad journalism. If you don’t want to read it, then you can skip this section.]
Even though TBC failed to achieve what they promised, few reporters wanted to hype a car going through a tunnel with lights. CNBC reporter Contessa Brewer did her best to create a dead hype. Her video on the Loop system was one of the most terrible videos I have ever seen. It is so wrong of her to compare a 45-minute walk to a 2-minute car ride. Obviously, a car ride would take less time, Contessa Brewer. And spreading false information that the LVCC Loop can handle 4400 people per hour — but in reality, it can barely handle 1000 people per hour. CNBC, if you’re reading this, please hire journalists who can actually do their job.
Elon Musk Fans Defending RGB Tunnels
Even though Elon Musk has received severe backlash, many Elon Musk fans stuck by him. They take every comment personally and try to defend their Lord. Their argument is that it was the first iteration — and it would take a few more tries before settling on the best model of transport. In simple words, they want to say “Please don’t criticize our God. You all are wrong. Even though we are idiots and don’t know anything about city planning, don’t criticize our Lord.” Just because you say that Elon Musk is going to revolutionize the transportation system, doesn’t mean it is actually going to happen.
The Root Cause
These Elon Musk fans don’t understand the root cause. The US has a really bad transportation system. Building more tunnels and freeways will never solve this problem. Vox made a video about it and I would recommend watching their videos about the main problem of the public transportation system and why highways will never solve traffic. The problem with US transit is, even though there are bus routes, train systems, etc. they only connect the suburbs to the center of the city. These bus and train systems don’t connect the suburb to suburb routes. So, if you are living in one of the suburbs and your job is in another suburb, either you can take a train ride to the center of the city and then take another train ride to the suburb where you work. Or you can just use your car and save time.
From the above image, you can see that it would be nonsensical for someone living in the suburb to take public transit to go to another suburb for work. This transit model is not only in Chicago but also in Houston, Philadelphia, Denver, Charlette, Portland, Washington DC, etc.
And even if Elon Musk is able to dig tunnels and people start using them, where would they park their cars? Parking spaces require large plots of land. Now we have to clear the area, cut down trees, etc. Vox also made a video about the cost of parking spaces.
Worrisome Future of The Boring Company
After the backlash, people are questioning whether Elon Musk and TBC can solve traffic. After all, TBC turned out to be just a tunnel-digging company that also sells tesla cars. The question is can Elon Musk earn profit from a tunnel-digging company? Why would anyone do a contract with a tunnel-digging company? Why would any city planner give a chance to a tunnel-digging company? Except for building a ‘tourist attraction’ no one in their right mind would ever suggest TBC to solve traffic in their area. That’s why investors are worried about TBC’s future. If Elon Musk is able to make a 125miles/hr transport, then yay — Everybody would be happy. That’s why Elon Musk needs to surprise everyone and come up with a high-speed transport system if he wants to save his company.