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Are India's Taxi Pods the Future of Public Transportation?
With an abundance of people in many of its major cities, India has transportation problems that involve too many cars on small roads, major traffic congestion and a high percentage of accidents per capita. Pedestrians are always in danger of being seriously injured and many of the roads have pot holes the size of small ditches. But, engineers and vehicle developers are now working together to come up with a solution that comes right from the future--taxi pods.
At Clancy's Auto Body, we always like to share the newest automotive technology with our readers and customers, because it changes literally every day. Taxi pods are a fascinating concept and if they work in India, maybe the rest of the world will eventually embrace them.
The Times of India reported recently that the city of Gurgaon will soon be getting a personal rapid transit (PRT) system in the form of driverless taxi pods. This will positively impact everyone, but most notably daily commuters who now sometimes have difficulty getting to and from their jobs.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHIA) is contracting a pilot project to build eight miles of the PRT network, which uses 1,100 small pods, each seating as many as five people at a time and arriving at 16 stations in regular, frequent intervals. The taxi pods are suspended from overhead rails, and travel through town at a speed of about 37 mph. The system can move 30,000 commuters per hour in one direction, which could certainly help to put a dent in congestion on the ground, especially if the PRT network expands after the trial period.
One intriguing feature of the PRT pods is that if someone is in a real rush, they can hire an entire pod for themselves, bypassing all other stops along the way to their location. It's likely that a pod full of people going to the same destination would also bypass other stops, depending on how the system is designed. So, if you want to fast track your trip, the taxi pods will likely oblige.
The NHIA is accepting bids for the project, which is expected to cost about $128 million and take just a little more than a year to build. Land for the PRT line has already been set aside and local legislation has approved every aspect of the project. Based on their numbers, the private company constructing the system would make their money back in 25 years through ticket sales. While similar PRT systems aren't expected to take over the entire planet, it just may be the solution Gurgaon needs to make up for a lack of planning and public funding during its high growth period.
We may not have any taxi pods here in Oakland Park or anywhere else in FL any time soon, but if they do come here, we'd love to see them in action. For busy, overpopulated cities all over the world, just like Guragon, India--taxi pods might just be a viable solution for too many people and too much traffic.