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Vectus is a division of POSCO of South Korea
A test facility is in Uppsala, Sweden
Vectus is working closely with IST, a Swedish NGO
Compiled by D.S. Gow, MPA
Items in Reverse Date Order ↑
Threads in date order ↓
Green = Dead Link
Mixed messages: What's the story with Suncheon Bay's PRT? (Kojects) 9-16-2013
Auditor faults selection of POSCO for Suncheon PRT 9-10-2013 View Story
©MMXIII PRT NewsCenter | Link
In a story by the South Korea broadcaster MBC reported in May, the Jeollanam-do (South Jeolla) provincial government announced that the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) had completed a review of how POSCO, maker of the Vectus PRT system, was chosen in 2009 as Suncheon's main partner on the personal rapid transit project. The review found that the four civil servants leading the project for the municipality violated procedures when they selected POSCO without a public selection process. They then staged an 'open' selection process as a coverup. [Transcript]
The BAI is South Korea's administrative oversight agency. BAI decides what projects it will audit and generally acts on information from whistleblowers, though it is not known if there was a whistleblower in this case. What is probable is that BAI reviewed the PRT project because it is very high profile, and reportedly is the biggest-budget project ever undertaken by the city of Suncheon.
The BAI did not respond to a request from NewsCenter seeking information.
The BAI found the four civil servants violated procedures in giving the design-build-operate contract to POSCO. Three were to be given official warnings, one was to receive a reprimand.
The four unnamed civil servants are:
Others say the penalties will make civil servants less open to taking risks. An unidentified city employee interviewed by MBC explained that officials could "avoid risk in order to avoid reprimands in the future."
POSCO/Vectus is doing business at Suncheon as Ecotrans Ltd. The PRT constructed by the project is a transit shuttle between the Suncheon International Garden Expo and the environmentally sensitive Suncheon Bay wetlands. The system is operating, and the vehicle fleet is gradually coming on line.
NewsCenter contacted Wooje Kim, Managing Director of Vectus' Korea branch. He stated that KRW65 billion ($59.5 million) had been spent on the project. Kim denied POSCO was at fault for the phony selection process, and that the BAI review was only an internal government audit. However Kim claimed the review delayed the project's completion.
On August 14 the Yonhap news agency reported Garden Expo organizers said the delay was "due mainly to problems in securing parts".
Yonhap also related statements that project funding was private. However the project is design-build-operate-transfer, meaning the city will receive ownership of the PRT after 30 years.
BAI's finding of wrongdoing makes sense to one PRT industry insider, who spoke to NewsCenter on condition of anonymity. "The first we heard about the selection of POSCO was when the project was announced," he said. But he thinks POSCO could have prevailed in an open and honest competition. Given the 5 kilometer long route and ridership levels, use of a power rail, and its higher top speed, Vectus has an advantage over battery powered pod systems like Ultra and 2getthere. Furthermore, selection criteria usually disqualify vendors that don't yet have test tracks and safety certification.
Daehan Won of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Washington, provided research and translation on this article.
* There are nine grades in the South Korea civil service system, with Grade 9 the lowest.
Suncheon PRT popular 8-19-2013
"Suncheon expo pilots automatic railway." 8-14-2013
Reported $53.5 million PRT project now up to 20 pods; delays blamed on parts supply.
If successful, city government could extend route 8-15-2013
Went into operation 8/15; no charge until October 8-15-2013
First video from Suncheon of trip in a Vectus PRT pod. Lots of footage of guideway, approach to stations and depot. Pod itself not visible; way to show off that Pinanfarina styling, guys! 6-4-013
Vectus muffs Suncheon launch target date 4-25-2013 View Story
©MMXIII Get On Board!PRT NewsCenter Link
"Ten weeks until the Suncheon project goes live," trumpeted Vectus Feb. 14 on its website news page. And the full PDF promised:
View maps of the various zones at the International Garden Expo 4-5-2013
Interpretive page for the 'PRT Square' public space located in the Wetland Zone. The Expo opens April 20, 2013.
Suncheon PRT will not launch on time, see 4-25-2013
Suncheon opening draws closer. 2-14-2013
Suncheon construction almost done (PDF): Vectus PRT Update (Oct. 2012). 11-7-2012
Editor's Blog: Cameron Emptor. 8-10-2012
Vectus official tips business plan: "We believe there is a huge future for PRT in emerging economies where there is little existing infrastructure and an urgent requirement to install low cost, energy efficient transport systems on a countryside basis." 7-26-2012
UK Tram, a British rail industry group, has issued How To guidances on developing PRT projects 7-20-2012
Observers of new transit technology need to keep an eye on: "South Korea debt crisis looms." 7-18-2012
Access for all: Universal design blogger reviews Vectus PRT with eye to improving transit for people with disabilities. 7-12-2012
Updated brand video 2-4-2012
"A concept whose time has come". 6 min. segment from Urban Mobility 2011 series on Current TV (former Vice President Gore's network) 9-6-2011
"Many vendors may get on board" 8-25-2011
for POSCO's first Vectus PRT system was held June 24 in Suncheon 6-24-2011
"Building permits clear" for 4.5 km system in South Korean national park, near Suncheon. 5-13-2011
"Follow that Pod Car!" ("World Business" video, 5 min.) 6-25-2010
Government positive about PRT (Radio Sweden) 1-15-2010
Innovation will highlight public transport (VTI Transportforum) 1-14-2010
Why podcars could change how we travel 12-7-2009 (Emirates Business 24-7)
Meet the Mod Pods 12-2-2009
"Swedes Going Green in Emergency" 7-28-09
Coverage of visit by Members of Riksdag (Swedish Parliament), March 26, 2009
"Can get car-free city with høybane" (Tønsberg, Norway)
Kompass cities meet in Sweden (Jan. 2009)