Elon Musk’s Vegas Loop Will Only Serve Fraction of Convention Center Traffic, Report Claims

Posted on: October 17, 2020, 04:39h. 

Last updated on: October 17, 2020, 09:35h.

A report released Friday casts some serious doubts about the capabilities of Elon Musk’s underground people mover currently under construction below the Las Vegas Convention Center. And that could end up costing Musk’s The Boring Company quite a bit of money.

Vegas Loop
A report claims Elon Musk’s people mover may be a money loser.

TechCrunch.com reported that the high-speed Loop will not have the capacity that convention center officials want, based on a review of files associated with the project. Investigative reporter Mark Harris noted that Musk’s company won the bid for the people mover by being “tens of millions of dollars cheaper” than light rail proposals submitted to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Harris said the center wants a system that would transport up to 4,400 people per hour, the standard it needs to move people effectively while it hosts major conventions that attract crowds of more than 100,000 people.

However, fire safety standards show that one of the three stations within the dual-tunnel loop is rated for a capacity of just 800 people per hour.

If the other stations have similar limitations, the system might only be able to transport 1,200 people an hour — around a quarter of its promised capacity,” the article said.

The report states if The Boring Company misses the mark by that wide a margin, it faces losing $13.2 million in funding on a project with a $52 million budget. And that might just be the beginning of the losses. The project’s contract states TBC would receive $4.4 million for proving it can safely move 2,200 people per hour, and an additional $4.4 million in payments for reaching 3,300 and 4,400 riders per hour.

Musk Company Faces Fines for Missing Target

The loop will connect the convention center’s new West Hall expansion, a $980 million project, with its North/Central Hall. Walking between the venues could take about 15 minutes. The Loop, which uses self-driving electric cars produced by Musk’s Tesla Inc., has been touted to move convention-goers in about a minute.

The vehicles are designed to carry up to 16 passengers and travel at speeds of up to 155 miles per hour.

While it may move fast, if the Loop doesn’t move enough people, The Boring Company will have to pay.

“For each large trade show that TBC fails to transport an average capacity of 3,960 passengers per hour for 13 hours, it will have to pay LVCVA $300,000 in damages,” the article said. “If TBC keeps falling short, it keeps paying, up to a maximum of $4.5 million.”

TechCrunch.com says fire safety regulations – such as sprinkler systems, emergency exits, and maximum capacity restrictions for vehicles – are keeping Musk’s company from hitting the higher number.

Speaking of safety, the report also states that TBC has told convention officials human drivers will be behind the wheel of the people-movers.

Musk stated on Twitter Wednesday that construction crews are doing “some finishing touches” on the stations and that the Loop could maybe open in a month.

Vegas Loop Expansion Takes Next Steps

The report comes just a couple days after the Las Vegas Convention Visitors Assn. announced the first steps to expand the Loop beyond the convention center, an expansion project that’s long been discussed.

Authority President and CEO Steve Hill told the LVCVA board on Tuesday that The Boring Company has submitted a special use permit application with Las Vegas officials and plan to submit a design review application with Clark County officials.

The extensions would connect the Loop to Downtown Vegas, the Strip, and McCarran International Airport.

Even after the TechCrunch report Friday, at least one planned casino was still touting the project. Resorts World Las Vegas tweeted an image showing the designed passenger loading station for the $4.3 billion Strip casino slated to open next year.

The Loop also plans to connect to Allegiant Stadium. On Thursday, the Las Vegas Stadium Authority agreed to cosign a permit that would create an underground Loop stop at the home of the Raiders.