Elon Musk has been taking a lot of heat after his recent comments about public transit systems being home to thugs and killers. The tech magnate was criticized by Jarrett Walker, a transport consultant, after his statement at a conference in California.
Musk, who is the owner of technology corporations, SpaceX and Tesla, said, “I think public transport is painful,”. “It sucks. Why do you want to get on something with a lot of other people, that doesn’t leave where you want it to leave, doesn’t start where you want it to start, doesn’t end where you want it to end? And it doesn’t go all the time.”
“It’s a pain in the ass,” Musk added. “That’s why everyone doesn’t like it. And there’s like a bunch of random strangers, one of who might be a serial killer, OK, great. And so that’s why people like individualized transport, that goes where you want, when you want.”
The entrepreneur has plenty on his plate right now, including multiple public transit projects. One of his most prominent projects is Hyperloop, which is a new super-fast transport system. Hyperloop will effectively cut the time of traveling between cities short.
Viewing Musk as a man living in an ivory tower, Jarrett Walker said that the man’s resentment to ride with other people is “a luxury – or pathology – that only the rich can afford“.
“Letting him design cities is the essence of elite projection,” stated Walker on Twitter. Musk hit back with: “You’re an idiot.”
Walker was not the only one who was piqued by Elon’s take. Katelyn McDougall, a consultant in urban planning, also commented on twitter and said that Elon’s obsession with private car use is anything but correct.
“What @elonmusk has done to advance EV technology is a revolution,” McDougall stated. “What would be #revolutionary would be if he did that AND told people that we need to drive less and own fewer cars.”
Other people have joined the heated topic on social media, one of whom was Brent Toderian, who is also a planning expert. He has started the hashtag #GreatThingsThatHappenedOnTransit for people to talk about the bright aspects of mass transit systems.
Jarrett Walker has also warned against leaving matters of the public in the hands of men with singular opinions.
“Many poor transit investments have arisen from a too-small group of fortunate people assuming that everyone shares their tastes and priorities,” Walker explained. “If you are going to disrupt urban transit, you first need to understand how, and why, it works.”