Rapid transit – the slowest process in the history of London!
People who don’t ride the bus are vehemently against it. People who do ride the bus want it desperately.
Council, meanwhile, takes a beating from all sides and consultants laugh all the way to the bank.
To that end, allow me to save you some money, London. I’ll offer you my consultation services for free just this one time.
I’ve put a lot of thought into this issue, and I think I have a few fantastic alternatives to bus rapid transit that all Londoners can agree on.
1 – Pony Express
How good would it feel to jump on the back of a speedy stallion or mighty mare, give a quick kick of the spurs and a bellowing “hyaw” and start galloping through the city?
Pony Express would turn London into the wild wild west – minus the brothels and sarsaparilla.
You want a job creator? This mode of rapid transit would require stable hands and fresh horses at every stop. We could grow hay in our public parks, and the manure could be used to generate enough power to offset our massive hydro bills.
The city could even reach an agreement with OLG and the Western Fair to get some off-track betting revenue from each bus/horse stop.
Pony Express Rapid Transit requires minimal traffic disruption, as we’d only need to widen the sidewalk enough so Ol’ Lightnin’ could breeze past. For train tracks, no tunnel necessary! Horse ramps would take up far less space and look way cooler.
2 – Time Travel
Okay, hear me out on this.
London is already stuck in the past on the transit debate.
If we adopt time travel as our method of choice, you could wait at the bus stop for hours and still be early for your appointment!
Here’s how it would work: Fanshawe and Western team up on a flux capacitor dual degree program to develop the technology. After which, future graduates travel back in time with the blueprints and we mass-produce DeLorean buses.
There are a few caveats with this method, however. Riders are not allowed to alter the course of history, and transfers would only be good for five hours either way. For riders on the outskirts of the city, this would already be a vast improvement.
3 – Pneumatic Tubes
Who wouldn’t love shooting through the city at several hundred kilometres per hour in a transparent tube? Get in one end and – FOOP! – you are sucked up and whisked away, only to arrive for your medical appointment or high-powered business lunch with time to spare and wind-swept hair.
We would need absolutely no road space to install our pneumatic tube network, which we could build on the cheap using decommissioned water slides.
To make it extra fun for riders, landing points could be replaced with ball pits – making the city one big MacDonald’s play zone!
Opponents will try to tell you Pneumatic Tube Rapid Transit sucks, but that’s only half true – it also blows.
4 – Zip Line
Picture this – a high speed elevator takes you to the top of One London Place. From there, a series of cables connect to various hubs around the city. Just strap into your harness and off you go!
Zip lines would create a construction boom, since London would have to erect a number of return towers to zip riders back downtown. However, the tourist dollars flowing into the city would more than compensate for the costs.
Zip Line Rapid Transit would be 100 per cent emission free, though there would be noise pollution from all the riders yelling “WEEEEEE!” as they zoom above the streets.
The biggest problem with this method (aside from zoning all those towers) is weather. Zip lines would ice up in the winter, rendering them extremely dangerous.
Still – for seven months a year it would be a great way to get around London.
5 – Teleportation
I can already see the public response – red signs with “Don’t Teleport London Under the Teleporter!” and “Matter matters!” on lawns throughout the nicer parts of town.
In the more common neighbourhoods, green signs with “Beam Me Up” and “What do we want? Teleporters! When do we quantum? Now!” would line the boulevards.
While awesome on the surface, teleportation carries the most risk.
Transferring the trillions of atoms that make up a human being would require such an exact degree of accuracy that even the slightest deviation would either kill riders or severely damage them.
And, if our current understanding of teleportation is true, riders would both die and be reborn every time they rode transit. If memories don’t teleport with you, you’d never know why you left the house in the first place.
It would be far better to switch to teleporters AFTER we install our time machines just to make sure we have the best technology available.
Which will it be?
I realize, none of the above methods are perfect, but we need something, and we need it soon.
So please London, take my free advice and build a transit system that is fun and easy to use. I ask for nothing in return except a season pass for the zip line and my own saddle for the Pony Express.
After all… Cars are great if you can afford one, but the loan payments on a horse would be way cheaper.
All images created by Gerard Creces