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Friday, May 29, 2015

Hyperloop developer wants to offer free trips during off-peak hours


By Chris Perkins, May 28, 2015


What if someday you could take a 35 minute Hyperloop trip from LA to San Fransisco for free? This may sound like a pipe dream, but one developer wants to make it a reality.

Dirk Alhborn — CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), one of the companies that's trying to bring tech entrepreneur Elon Musk's Hyperloop concept to life — wants to offer Hyperloop riders free trips during off-peak hours and low fares during peak hours.

See also: Can the Hyperloop Be Crowdfunded?

Alhborn told Wired, he wants "to make it something you use every single day many times," and offering a low price point for rides is his way to do so, despite price consultants who think that a Hyperloop ride would cost twice that of a plane ticket.

Hyperloop was announced back in 2013 as a mass-transportation system that can transport passengers between San Fransisco and Los Angeles in less than 40 minutes. Passengers would ride in aluminum pods in sealed tubes, traveling at speeds of up to 800 mph. Alhborn recently said the Hyperloop will likely launch within a decade — an unquestionably ambitious goal.

To offset the price, Alhborn mentioned selling the extra energy Hyperloop makes as a part of a move to get more riders interested. While he said there would be other revenue streams to offer no-cost Hyperloop tickets, he didn't detail what those could be.

HTT is slated to build a five-mile test track running along Interstate 5 in California, which will allow them to further develop the Hyperloop concept. However, this relatively short length of the track will only allow them to test at a paltry 200 mph, rather than Musk's projected 800 mph. The track will be paid for by an initial public offering (IPO) later this year.

Alhborn said that he took inspiration for his pricing strategy from video games that use a freemium model. Video games "are free and are making more money (than ever before) through upsales in-game," he told CNBC.

So basically, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood may have had a hand in the development of the Hyperloop.