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Old July 7th, 2011, 07:25 AM   #281
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bremas View Post
Heathrow has pulled the bus option and has gone to 100% pods on that route.

"The last six months at Heathrow has seen the ULTra system complete final operational testing and enter passenger service. On Monday 18th April 2011, T5 Business Car Park passengers started using the Heathrow Pod. In the weeks that followed, operating hours were increased, with the system operating a (22 hour) full service from the 7th May. By the start of June, nearly 20,000 journeys had been completed. Indeed, performance has been such that BAA has withdrawn the bus service from this car park, ensuring all passengers travel to and from T5 by the Heathrow pod. "

from here:
http://www.citymobil-project.eu/site...ail.php?nid=98
Anyone got any news on how the pods are performing? It's been a while without news.
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Old July 8th, 2011, 05:38 AM   #282
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Ditto, I'm really curious about how things have been going in London as well. They seem to be really tight-lipped about it. Does anyone have any updates? Or even better has anyone ridden this yet?

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Old July 9th, 2011, 08:50 PM   #283
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Old July 10th, 2011, 12:46 AM   #284
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I guess everything is going fine, or else they would have been report a "failure of yet another grandiose BAA project".
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Old July 13th, 2011, 07:53 PM   #285
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Nothing out of the company recently. I know that they are in discussions with other places for possible construction.
There are a number of videos on youtube that individuals have recorded riding it. Grabbed one.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN_yxn8SUL0

And another that includes a trip between the two parking terminals (I suppose just to prove it could be done).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaA7mfmip2c
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Old August 5th, 2011, 09:42 PM   #286
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Finally, an article recently popped up from the New York Times!

http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011...ws-terminal-5/

August 5, 2011, 6:00 am

Pod Cars, Moving Silently at Heathrow’s Terminal 5

By JIM WITKIN


The automated pods travel along paved guideways and operate only when a passenger indicates a destination.


LONDON — Travelers passing through Heathrow Airport have an opportunity to experience the not-so-distant future of airport transportation systems in Terminal 5, where a curious row of pod cars connects the terminal’s two business parking lots.

Since Wheels featured this personal rapid transit system in September, BAA, the company that operates Heathrow, and ULTra PRT, the manufacturer of the pod cars, have completed operational testing. Passenger service began in April.

Starting from the second level in Terminal 5, I recently took the pods for a chaperoned test drive — or more accurately, they took me. The electric cars have no visible accelerator or steering wheel; rather, they are completely automated and travel along a dedicated guideway. My only input consisted of a button push, which indicated my destination.

Quiet and comfortable were my first impressions of the five-minute ride between the terminal and parking lot. Onboard, the only sound over the familiar whirr of the electric motor was the recorded voice announcement from the iPad-like control panel inside the car, assuring me that I was “almost there.”

Several pod cars making the trip in the opposite direction whizzed past. Top speed is about 25 miles per hour. Alicia Griffiths, the BAA spokeswoman who rode along with me, assured me that the system had not experienced any accidents.

From an operational perspective, BAA is declaring the system a success, according to Ms. Griffiths. Two diesel-powered buses that used to make 216 trips daily along this route were removed from service in June, and now 22 pod cars shuttle nearly 800 passengers every weekday over 2.4 miles of track. Each car can carry four passengers and luggage. The cars have had very little down time for maintenance or repair; reliability has been above 95 percent, Ms. Griffiths said.

Energy efficiency is improved not only by replacing diesel vehicles with electric ones, but also because the pods move only on demand. Rather than making constant, endless loops between the terminal and parking lots, irrespective of passenger load, the pods operate only when travelers request them.

Passenger feedback also has been positive, Ms. Griffiths said, with many satisfied passengers using Twitter and YouTube to document their experiences.

Sharing one’s pod is optional, but I managed to climb aboard with one nattily dressed business traveler who, while acknowledging the technology’s gee-whiz factor, expressed his reservations.

“It seems to operate fine, but I wonder if this is just for PR value,” he said. “Would it work at the other, busier parking lots carrying many more passengers?”

BAA is betting it would. It has taken a financial stake in ULTra, convinced that these systems would have applications outside the airport in places like office campuses and dense residential and commercial developments. Both companies plan to continue promoting the technology to customers in Europe, North America and India, according to Ms. Griffiths.
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Old August 5th, 2011, 09:46 PM   #287
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They seem pretty happy with Ultra and the system! Hopefully they will expand the PRT system to the rest of the airport and area hotels/convention centers/all the terminals/car rental locations/more parking lots.

Lets see what PRT is really capable of!!!!

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Old August 5th, 2011, 09:52 PM   #288
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http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?sec...ogy&id=8285865

Magnetic gliding pods could be transit of the future
Tuesday, August 02, 2011

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (KGO) -- Forget planes, trains and automobiles, a totally new kind of transportation is in the works at a NASA lab in the South Bay. Gliding pods could someday pick you up where you live and drop you off at work.

In a nondescript building at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, a little bullet shaped vehicle, creeps down a 50-foot metal test track.

"You're whisked away at a high speed with silence -- because SkyTran is a passive magnetic levitation vehicle, meaning there's no clitter-clatter of wheels, you're riding on a cushion of air," SkyTran CEO Jerry Sanders said.

Gliding at up to 150 miles an hour, suspended from poles, SkyTran is the first in a category called personal rapid transit. The computer-controlled pods pull off the track and into a station where riders hop in, swipe a card and select a stop -- just like pressing a button on an elevator.

It combines the flexibility of a car with the experience of riding a train.

"People don't like driving now because you're stuck in the car, you can't text without risking a ticket or an accident, so with SkyTran you'll be able to work on your computer or your laptop while you're traveling," SkyTran Vice President of Engineering Robert Baertsch said.

SkyTran's designers say the technology behind the system is innovative, but not revolutionary. What is revolutionary, they say, is how much the system will cost cities, or rather, how much it won't cost them.

"Anyone can build a train system that costs $500 million; very few people can build a train system that costs $5 million," Sanders said.

SkyTran 's CEO claims his system would pay for itself, charging fares of around 30 cents a mile.

"It can be built cheaply, safely, effectively and efficiently and the beauty of SkyTran is that it's built in a factory like Lego," Sanders said.

One proposed site for that factory is in Fresno, where SkyTran claims it would create hundreds of jobs. But the city of Mountain View also wants a factory and hopes it will help them score the first SkyTran system.

"It would allow this area to continue to grow for many years before it becomes completely saturated," Mountain View Mayor Jac Siegel said.

(Copyright ©2011 KGO-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
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Old August 5th, 2011, 09:55 PM   #289
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Looks like SkyTran has big dreams! I hope they will be able to succeed. The hardest part is finding someone who believes they can do it and give them funding! I'd love to see some real working prototypes with enough track and switches to make it look believable and to prove it can work at high speed.
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Old August 7th, 2011, 01:10 AM   #290
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Yea, the SkyTran system always seemed like a 'bridge too far' for me... but the people involved seem to have a history of success and they have the NASA name tagged to them now.

I know Detroit turned down their proposal.

If they can show a working prototype and keep the costs anywhere near what they're claiming..... I don't think 'revolutionary' would be too far off the mark.

gotta see that prototype though.
I also wonder about meeting federal and state safety regulations (emergency exit and whatnot) and regulations for access for people with disabilities. I'm sure these things have at least come up in their discussions, so we'll see.



On a side note...... we now have PRT discussions tied to the Apple campus, the Google/Microsoft/Ames campus area and the San Jose Airport. All of these within a few miles of one another...... if these groups could decide on a system together it would really be interesting.
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Old August 7th, 2011, 02:14 AM   #291
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The Dusseldorf Airport in Germany has a suspended monorail system by Siemens called the H-Bahn, which has need operating successfully for several years now. Of course, it's not a maglev system, but for safety concerns, it is a 'small' guideway/vehicle suspended railway similar to what the SkyTran system.
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Old August 24th, 2011, 06:24 PM   #292
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London Heathrow PRT system to officially open on September 15 2011! I just read this for the first time in an article. The pods have been running well for some time now, but the official opening is the last hurdle to overcome.
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Old August 24th, 2011, 06:27 PM   #293
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http://www.skyport-heathrow.co.uk/20...n-twitter.html

Quote: The £25 million Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system will be officially launched on September 15.


Heathrow pods a hit on Twitter
By Salina Patel



THE world's first driverless pods whizzing around Heathrow airport have quickly become a global sensation.

The futuristic technology has replaced buses as a more efficient and environmentally friendly form of travel from the Terminal 5 business car park to T5

About 900 passengers use the service everyday, and recently pod fever has spread and Twitter has been inundated with comments.

One passenger tweeted: "Landed and used the very cool #heathrowpod between the terminal and car park (@ Terminal 5 w/ 12 others), and they're even better to use - quicker, easier and greener than the buses to/from the car park".

Another user tweeted: "I am in a pod. A bit like the cab on Total Recall without the mad driver! FAST though! Almost like a real life Scalextric."

The £25 million Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system will be officially launched on September 15.

Passengers started using the unmanned battery-powered vehicles in April, and in the months that followed all 21 pods were rolled out to deliver a fully operational service this summer.

The pods which operate 22 hours a day, elevate over traffic around the airport and reach inside the terminal building.

A BAA spokesperson said: "We had to do a lot of testing behind the software which was the challenge, and there were lots of tweaks and changes made during research and testing.

"Putting the PRT system between the car park and the airport meant bespoke software had to be created so that there was no impact on the airport's communication systems."

"We are pleased about how it's gone and the reception we are getting from passengers."

Each carriage carries four people and their luggage and passengers board the pods at one of three stations, selecting their destination using a touch screen.

The non-stop journey takes around five minutes with the vehicles driving at speeds up to 25mph (40kph).
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Old August 26th, 2011, 09:54 AM   #294
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ULTRa PRT August e-news

States Sir Peter Hall (author of "Cities of Tomorrow"), "PRT may transform our cities in ways that we can't yet see."

See: ULTra PRT web site:
http://www.ultraprt.com/news/95/149/...eigh-guideway/

1. Heathrow ULTra system: awesome, cool, sci-fi, fast, fantastic

On April 18, 2011, Terminal 5 (T5) Business Car Park passengers started using the Heathrow Pod. In the weeks that followed, operating hours were increased, with the system operating a (22 hour) full service from May 7. As of August 21, approximately 63,000 passenger trips had been completed. The system currently carries about 800 passengers per day, and BAA has withdrawn the bus service from this car park, ensuring all passengers travel to and from T5 by the Heathrow Pod. The five minute ride has been described as "futuristic", "rapid" and "a transport revelation."

"You will see from the Twitter quotes below that the Heathrow Pod has certainly proved popular with our customers. Passenger numbers continue to rise, the system is running at its full service and it's fast becoming an established member of the Heathrow transport network. The testing and refining of the service undertaken, especially over the last year, has paid off and we have a service we are proud of and our customers love." Max Vialou-Clark, BAA Retail Services Director.

Twitter and Youtube:
* "I love these things. Best airport transfer devices ever"
* "Awesome sci-fi system"
* "Landed and used the very cool #heathrowpod . and they're even better to use - quicker, easier and greener than the buses to/from the car park"
* "I am in a pod. A bit like the cab on Total Recall without the mad driver! ... FAST though! ... Almost like a real life scalextric ;-)"
* "Geek transportation par excellence!"
* "Soooo cool!! Addicting!!"
* "Fantastic. Epochal. Could not be more excited. First rate. Staff could not have been friendlier."
* 30-second essence: http://youtu.be/iAkqNULN9eY
* Full five-minute ride: http://youtu.be/yU972ULVTeU

[ Globe and Mail: http://tinyurl.com/3egrzfw ] [ NY Times: http://tinyurl.com/3enctby ]

2. Amritsar out to bid. North India tourist center

ULTra PRT and partner ULTra Fairwood undertook detailed planning of Amritsar's bustling, crowded Golden Temple tourist center in North India. The partnership submitted an unsolicited proposal for a two-mile, seven-station system. In response, the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) has specified a Public Private Partnership (PPP) via a Design, Build, Finance, Operate, and Maintain (DBFOM) concession. ULTra Fairwood will lead a bid team response.

Amitsar Heritage City system alignment: [IMAGE: http://www.fairwoodindia.com/persona...ansport-system ]

The Hindu Business Line explains innovative PPP "Swiss Challenge" procurement: [ Article: http://tinyurl.com/44mw5fb ]

3. Worldwide PRT industry grows to four customers

The three established PRT manufacturers (with customers) are ULTra PRT, 2getthere, and Vectus. ULTra PRT's system at London Heathrow Airport has 2.4 miles of guideway, three stations, and 21 vehicles. 2getthere has a system at Masdar City in Abu Dhabi featuring 1.1 miles of guideway, five stations, and 13 vehicles. 2getthere and ULTra PRT began passenger operation in late 2010. Vectus is implementing a system at Suncheon Bay, South Korea. This system is expected to open in 2013 with six miles of guideway and 40 vehicles. The Amritsar system will be the world's fourth PRT customer. PRT combines low-cost infrastructure with compelling fare box and real-estate economics, to the point where Heathrow and Amritsar systems are financed solely by private sector sources. For PRT systems, a rule of thumb is "PRT infrastructure costs less than two percent of the value of land and buildings that are served." The Advanced Transit Association Industry Group recently published a concise, manufacturer-neutral industry description: [ PDF: http://tinyurl.com/3hz5r9e ]

4. Raleigh North Hills PRT:

Kane Realty Corporation and ULTra PRT announced the start of a feasibility study to bring PRT to North Hills at Raleigh, North Carolina. Developer John Kane was a recent Heathrow ULTra passenger: "I think it's a game changer. It's really fun. More people will want to live here, play here, and stay here, with a safe and easy way to move around. We can enhance current transit." North Hills is one of the finest examples of pushing the envelope on successful smart-growth, high density, and mixed-use. Included coverage: News 14 TV, News Observer. Triangle Biz Journal, Midtown Magazine, brochure, and fact sheet. [ LINK: http://www.ultraprt.com/applications...leigh-midtown/ ]

5. Sleek new precast concrete ULTra guideway design

BergerABAM has developed an attractive, cost-effective ULTra precast concrete guideway design. Renderings are provided for the guideway in desert, SeaTac airport, and parking structure contexts. The design is robust for all seismic conditions. [ Web link: http://www.ultraprt.net/cms/precastGuideway.htm ].

This precast design joins ARUP's attractive steel ULTra Heathrow guideway design. [ Web link: http://www.ultraprt.net/cms/stills/1892_gw_close.JPG ].

6. ULTra PRT speakers featured at upcoming Podcar City Stockholm & LA Mobility 21.

Fraser Brown presents at Podcar City, Stockholm, Sept 6-8: [ http://podcarcity.org/stockholm/ ] Steve Raney presents at the Los Angeles Transportation NEXT, Sept 6. [ http://mobility21.com/overview/ ]

7. Leading-edge scholarly PRT papers

ULTra PRT makes ongoing, important contributions to the peer-reviewed literature on topics encompassing control system design (empty vehicle management, station vehicle throughput optimization, etc), passenger response, planning, airport design, station interface, ridesharing, new mobility, and travel demand forecasting. [ PAPERS: http://www.ultraprt.com/media/papers/ ]
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Old September 26th, 2011, 07:45 PM   #295
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Its is finally officially open!!

http://www.airport-world.com/news-ar...ple-mover-pods

Heathrow unveils its new €35m people mover Pods

Thursday, 15 September 2011 16:51 | Written by Dominic Welling



Heathrow Airport has officially unveiled its revolutionary new battery powered people movers *– space age pods.


An advanced form of personal rapid transport (PRT) system developed by Ultra and BAA, the 21 driverless pods that ferry passengers between Terminal 5’s business car park and the main terminal building, are designed to be low energy, battery powered, zero emission vehicles that are virtually silent.


With a connecting journey time of five minutes, each pod is capable of carrying four passengers and their luggage at any one time along the 3.8 kilometre guide way network.


Started in 2005, it has taken six years for the Heathrow pod to be built and has cost the airport €35m. Now it is completed the pods will carry 500,000 passengers each year, BAA said.


Fraser Brown, managing director of Ultra PRT, said: “We’re very excited about the benefits that the Heathrow pod can offer Heathrow’s passengers.


“Its service is predictable, reduces waiting time and offers reduced journey times; it’s also an environmentally sustainable form of transport that ensures reduced emissions.”


The journey is an on demand and non-stop service from start to destination at the touch of a computer screen, allowing passengers to select their own direct destination.


Furthermore, there are no timetables, and no waiting times, as a central computer ensures that the pods are distributed at each station according to passenger demand.


Access points and destinations are a series of off-line stations which are distributed around the network like bus stops or taxi ranks.


The passenger selects a destination and the central control system responds to this request by immediately allocating a vehicle on the required path and timing for that journey.


Ultra said that waiting times are negligible and 95% of passengers are served in less than 34 seconds.


Additionally, when they are waiting for a passenger, the pods recharge themselves at battery points, so are always ready to go.


The Heathrow pods are expected to eliminate 50,000 bus journeys on the roads around Heathrow each year, according to BAA.


Meanwhile, journey times to and from the terminal is congestion free and around ten minutes faster for the average passenger compared with the original buses.


The pods can travel at up to 25 miles per hour and use 70% less energy than it takes to power a car, and 50% less than a bus.


So far more than 100,000 passengers have used the pods since the service – which runs 22 hours-a-day on weekdays, 21 hours-a-day on Saturday and 20 hours-a-day on Sunday *– started on 18 April this year.


John Holland-Kaye, commercial director at Heathrow, added: “We’ve been listening carefully to our passengers as part of our plan to make every journey better at Heathrow.


“We love watching people’s reactions when they see the pods for the first time and then again when they step off just five minutes later at their destination.”
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Old October 7th, 2011, 07:20 PM   #296
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Appears ULTra and it's partner have won the contract in Amritsar India

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111006/asrtrib.htm#1

Rapid transit system to be a reality soon
The job to pave way for urban light transport magnetic pods on the lines of the one introduced around Heathrow Airport will start this month


Amritsar, October 5
The much-awaited personal rapid transit system (PRTS) in the holy city is inching towards the reality. If the officials are to be believed, the job to pave way for ULTra (Urban Light Transport) magnetic pods, just on the lines of the one introduced around the Heathrow Airport, would start within this month. The PRTS in Amritsar will be the first of its kind in India.

A special committee, consisting of Amritsar Municipal Corporation Commissioner, Secretary of Local Bodies Wing and the MD, Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB), is going to hold talks with with the representatives of the lone bidder for the 30- month long woth Rs 1,600-crore project, jointly ventured by the two firms-ULTra Systems and the Fairwood Consultants on BoT basis. It has been learnt that small car manufacturers are also being taken into consideration to facilitate local manufacturing of the pod cars.

AMC Commissioner Dharampal Gupta said as per norms if only one bidding firm applies for any government project, then it becomes mandatory to negotiate with the firm by a special committee.

The authorities here have already identified seven locations for establishing PRTS stations. The seven stations would be Gol Bagh Railway Station, Deen Dayal market, the Kairon market, Galliara parking, the Golden Temple, Bus Stand and Mahan Singh Chowk.

Taking the Golden Temple as epicentre, as many as 210 laser-guided pods would start running on the elevated track between the Sikh holy shrine and the Bus stand. Gupta told that the first phase of the project on this route would be completed within 11 months period.

“We have done the local recce which revealed that more than 65 per cent of the daily commuters and tourists travel between the Bus stand and the Golden Temple route. That’s why, we primarily chose to introduce this system on this route,” he said.

A meeting on this was held recently with the officials of Punjab Infrastructure Regulatory Agency, a subsidy of Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB). “It has been deliberated that the execution of this first phase of the project would cost us about 198 crore. We have already done the soil testing at different points where the pillars for the guideway have to be installed,” he said.

On the bidding firms' fund raising plans, Gupta said the exact contours of financing would emerge only once we reach at some consensual point on account of financial concessions, as has to be extended by the state government.

Naresh Johar, a daily commuter from Rani Ka Bagh to Lawrence Road: Though the PRTS will let tourists reach their destination without a hassle but the system will bereft them to have the feel of the true character of Amritsar.

A daily commuter from Bagh Ramanand to a guest house near Golden TempleJagdish Singh: I welcome this new concept of transport, it will benefit tourists as well as residents. But I doubt if it would really be implemented.



No clear picture of precisely what it will look like yet, but couple of maps here:
http://www.fairwoodindia.com/persona...ystem-amritsar
http://www.fairwoodindia.com/persona...ansport-system

From the article:
"Gupta told that the first phase of the project on this route would be completed within 11 months period."

That should be interesting.
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Old October 12th, 2011, 03:21 AM   #297
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Hello, I recently was in London and had a chance to explore the Ultra PRT system recently opened. Here is a video of my visit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SIvJN8jSBE

I LOVED riding and experiencing the first PRT system in the world. It is great how close you can get to the pods at the Parking Station A and Parking Station B. I was so close that I could reach out and touch the pods as they went by, and was amazed how quiet these vehicles are driving my around the station. Absolutely no noise!!!

The one drawback to the current system is that there is no area for pods to queue at Parking Station A. At Parking Station B, at least 3-4 pods can queue, and at the Terminal 5 Station, at least 15 pods can queue there.

One more thing that surprised me is that the two Parking Stations, A and B, are in the same parking lot. If you make a mistake and go to the wrong station, it might be at most 4 minutes more walking to your car. Its also fun to take the pods between the two parking station. It is fun, but it would be faster to just walk.
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Old October 12th, 2011, 03:26 AM   #298
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Old October 17th, 2011, 05:41 PM   #299
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkstrknb View Post

The one drawback to the current system is that there is no area for pods to queue at Parking Station A. At Parking Station B, at least 3-4 pods can queue, and at the Terminal 5 Station, at least 15 pods can queue there.
Cool Pics.

As for the queuing, I would say that due to the design of A and B, that B queue is the queue for both. It's really just a straight shot from B to A of a 100m or so.

Judging from what I've gleaned from their website, the plan seems to be to have queuing areas strategically located near several stations. Not one at every station.
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Old January 8th, 2012, 12:10 AM   #300
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I just went back to London and rode the PRT system there again and took a little video. Here are my two videos about the system to date.

The second video shows me in a pod arriving at a station where both bays are occupied.



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