The Dark Side of Hyperloop

There is a dark side of Hyperloop that boosters do not want to talk about. Hyperloop could kill thousands of high-paying jobs for example.

Moreover, the Hyperloop could destroy untold billions in real estate value. In addition, a badly designed Hyperloop system could cut minorities, the poor, and the working-class off from transportation.

People ignore the dark side of Hyperloop because the technology poorly understood, or dismissed as science fiction. However, a company called HyperloopTT is scheduled to break ground on the first commercial Hyperloop in the United Arab Emirates next year.

Additionally, Elon Musk plans to open a Hyperloop test tunnel in Los Angeles in December. Beyond that, Musk is planning Hyperloop subways in Los Angeles and Chicago.

We need to talk about the Dark Side of Hyperloop because it is almost here

We must discuss the dark side of Hyperloop because it is almost here. To begin, we must explain what Hyperloop is.

Basically, the Hyperloop is a large tube from which they pump most of the air out. They remove the air to reduce resistance; which allows vehicles to move through the tube at high-speeds.

Thus, “pods” will move through the Hyperloop at speeds like those achieved by jets in the upper atmosphere. Like jets, Hyperloop vehicles could theoretically travel at speeds of several hundred kilometers or several hundred miles an hour.

Under those circumstances, Hyperloop could offer the speed of jet airliners on the ground. Moreover, Hyperloop tubes could theoretically move as many vehicles as a railway at the speed of a jet airliner.

Why Airlines cannot compete with Hyperloop

Thus, Hyperloop offers the possibility of passenger and commuter trains and subways that operate at the speed of airliners. Consequently, Hyperloop could move as much freight and passengers as trains.

Yet Hyperloop will offer shorter and more convenient trips. For instance, Hyperloop could carry passengers between Kansas City and St. Louis; a distance of 248 miles (399.117 kilometers) in 31 minutes, The Verge reports.

Airlines will have a hard time competing because Hyperloop could run downtown. That will eliminate the drive, Uber, cab, or bus ride to and from the airport and cut the trip by 30 minutes to an hour.

Therefore, a logical conclusion is that airlines could not compete with a Hyperloop running on the route. To explain, the Hyperloop will move more freight and people at a lower cost.

Hyperloop could be cheaper than airliners because it will run on electricity rather than jet fuel. The Hyperloop vehicle designs I have seen are use electric motors or run on magnetic levitation (maglev) which runs on electricity.

In addition Hyperloop could run in crowded urban areas where airliners cannot land. As a result, Hyperloop stations will be cheaper and easier to build than airports. For example, Hyperloop stations will take up less land, In addition, they could build Hyperloop terminals on low-cost land; like empty industrial sites, or freeway rights of way.

How Hyperloop will Kill Tens of Thousands of High-Paying Jobs

Under these circumstances, the Dark Side of Hyperloop will wipe out tens of thousands of high-paying jobs.

Hyperloop could throw thousands of airline pilots out of work, for instance. Companies will need no pilots because the Hyperloop is a totally automated system run by computers.

Pilots will oppose Hyperloop; because the average airline pilots’ salary in the US was $130,059 a year, The San Francisco Chronicle estimates. It will affect thousands of families; because there are 116,000 airline pilots and flight engineers in the United States.

Notably, the lack of operators makes Hyperloop more competitive than airlines. A Hyperloop company will not have the expense of highly-paid operators with full benefits, for instance. Additionally, Hyperloop management will not have to deal with pilots’ unions.

How Widespread will be Hyperloop Unemployment be?

Disturbingly, airline pilots are just one group of people who could be put out of work by Hyperloop. Also threatened are railroad engineers (train drivers to the Brits), bus drivers, aircraft mechanics, and truck drivers – to name a few.

We will need fewer aircraft mechanics because there will be fewer planes to maintain. We will need fewer railroad engineers and truck drivers because Hyperloop could move large amounts of freight.

On the other hand, some workers such as mechanics could be retrained for Hyperloop maintenance. Conversely, truck drivers could find work driving trucks hauling freight to and from the Hyperloop. Airline attendants could become Hyperloop attendants.

Obviously, there will still be work for pilots on transoceanic and transcontinental flights. However, the number of pilots’ jobs could fall dramatically as short-haul airline flights disappear.

How the Dark Side of Hyperloop will Destroy Billions of Dollars in Real Estate Value

The Dark Side of Hyperloop could destroy billions of dollars in real-estate value by making many locations less far less attractive.

Location is still the most important factor in determining real estate prices. For example, the average home price in Brooklyn is $786,700. Brooklyn property is expensive because the borough is right across the river from Manhattan.

Hyperloop could change by reducing the travel time between Manhattan and places like Albany, Binghamton, Poughkeepsie, Saratoga Springs, Scranton, and Springfield, Massachusetts, to less than 45 minutes.

To explain, all those communities are old industrial cities; filled with historic buildings – just like Brooklyn. Yet the real estate in them is far cheaper. For example, the average home price in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is $67,000 according to Zillow.

If they constructed a Hyperloop between Scranton and Manhattan, property values in Brooklyn will plummet. Meanwhile, property values in Scranton will surge as people realize they can live there and work in Manhattan.

Thus, Hyperloop will totally disrupt real estate markets by decimating property values. A lot of New York residents will welcome Hyperloop because they could afford to live in Brooklyn again.

However, Brooklyn property owners will see their “investments” disappear. Consequently, the City of New York will collect far less in property taxes.

How the Dark Side of Hyperloop could be Racist

We can add discrimination to the Dark Side of Hyperloop. Obviously, Hyperloop itself is not racist, technologies cannot discriminate.

However, the people who design and build transportation systems like Hyperloop can. For instance, a Hyperloop could bypass African-American, Hispanic, or poor white neighborhoods.

Notably, Elon Musk’s proposed Hyperloop subway system for Los Angeles does not serve the mostly Hispanic East Los Angeles. However, Musk’s proposed Hyperloop serves African-American neighborhoods and towns in West LA.

In addition, Musk’s LA Hyperloop serves only affluent white neighborhoods in the San Fernando Valley like Sherman Oaks. Yet, Hispanic and working-class white communities to the north are unserved.

Hyperloop and Class

I do not believe Musk’s LA Hyperloop proposal is racist but the map of it raises troubling questions. Even if the Hyperloop subway is not racist, it will trigger horrendous political battles.

For example, battles for Hyperloop lines and stations will pit communities and municipalities against each other. Working-class residents will welcome Hyperloop while upper class property owners could oppose it.

Upper-class property owners will fear Hyperloop because it could attract high-density housing developments that will lower property values. On the other hand, working-class people will welcome access to more jobs.

There is an obvious dark side to Hyperloop that we must address. The negative effects of this fascinating technology will be great and they could hurt many people.