Hot air rises…

The editor ‘rails’ against the cartoon notion of flying taxis and starts obsessing about BYD Skyrail…. again

I see the staggeringly stupid idea of ‘air taxis’ has gained enough traction to be the subject of an

A recent release seriously suggests VTOL aircraft seating two people as an alternative for commuting in road-level traffic to ‘avoid congestion.’ Such an idea, with aircraft at £500,000 a pop and landing limited to buildings which already have a heliport, might be a proposition for the super-rich, but even then, will meet with opposition. It’s bad enough that we have street-level accidents, without
badly-piloted or failing aircraft plummeting into the congestion

There are 21,000 black cabs in London; the idea of swarms of aircraft playing dodgems in the sky is pure fantasy. Then there is the energy needed to hoist people 2,000 feet vertically into the air, as opposed to gently rolling along on the level. And the speed of descent when they crash into one another. It’s beyond parody.

  • Talking of fantasy, I’ve been obsessing about BYD’s Skyrail urban transport system for a while, as one council after another announces wildly ambitious light rail and Cambridge even announcing ‘tube’ plans; in a city parts of which are only six metres above sea level.

If you’re not familiar with Skyrail, it’s a modular, rail-less, overhead transport system, with electric ‘trains’ with batteries, which has such a tiny surface footprint, it can be built (and is being built) over the top of existing roads. It runs autonomously on rubber wheels, can recharge on the run and can cover some distance without a power supply.

It seems to me that Wuppertal and even our modest DLR in London have proven the concept of elevated transport, and Skyrail would meet public transport purposes at a fraction of the cost, without expensive trackbed or overhead electrics – and with the high visibility every council needs for a vanity project.

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