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The announcement was made on Twitter:
The future has arrived at #Heathrow! Check out the new #heathrowpods that we're launching today: tinyurl.com/4y2busf
Thu 15 Sep 05:24
@jordandias Yes, they have been in operation, but their official launch is today.
Thu 15 Sep 05:56
Servest wins cleaning contract for Heathrow pods 9-22-2011
Reuters: Heathrow moves forward with pod cars 9-26-2011
Vietnam: Vietnam IT corporation FPT exploring pod transit "Spider" means web/network. 10-12-2011
Ultra site now "UltraGlobalPRT.com" 10-18-2011
Evening Standard: Heathrow's Personal Rapid Transit pods 11-9-2011
Interview: Heathrow surface transport director Airrail TV 11-27-2011
Impressive April-November statistics 12-7-2011
Punjab Dep. Chief Min. Sukhbir met with shopkeepers and assured them the project would not affect their business.
:: Photos of Ultra Fairwood illustrations (Eagle Eye News) 12-12-2011
:: Shopkeepers fear loss of street-level window shopping
:: Fares being revised upward 12-25-2011
India to get world's largest urban transport podcar system (CNN). 200-pod fleet to cut 30 minutes off journeys for 35% of Golden Temple visitors. For those concerned about the rickshaw/taxi operators: 94% of Amritsar passenger trips are by paratransit (p.6)
India's Hottest New Transportation Trend The Atlantic 1-9-2012
India: PRT, monorail and HSR are in Kerala annual budget released today by Finance Minister. 3-19-2012
Kerala:$R25 lakh ($49,000) for preliminary work; 'Natpac' to sign off 3-22-2012
Ultra Fairwood's high quality video rendering of first urban pod transit system in Amritsar, India. 3-22-2012
Ultra receives ISO9000 certification 4-2-2012
Governing magazine: Silicon Valley considers PRT system to ease congestion. Journal columnist (and California mayor) picks up story of the March 20 Mountain View meeting. 4-30-2012
"Heathrow pods are an idea for the future": Christian Wolmar ("Britain's leading transport commentator") rides the pods at Terminal 5 and comes away impressed. "Certainly, it merits wider consideration than it has been given. In fact, the concept has attracted a surprising amount of criticism with whole websites devoted to deriding the very idea of individualised public transport." 5-7-2012
Global AirRail Award for Innovation 5-30-2012
Ultra/Fairwood joint venture
State infrastructure agency HSIIDC is in charge
Regulatory body recommended
Phases 1 & 2 out of 3 to proceed at same time
Completion in 2.5 years
143 stations, 105 km of guideway; National Hwy 8/Iffco Chowk area
Pod manufacturing to ramp up. 7-16-2012
Fairwood planning factory to supply India and SE Asia Ultra projects
Of course, this could be said about any modern rail transit technology.
"A day after conservation and architecture experts aired their concern regarding the PRTS project in the holy city, the trading community at Hall Bazaar and nearby markets has also expressed apprehensions about the plan taking a toll on their businesses." Synopsis. Merchants in the project zone: 1. are concerned the PRT system will depress business like "The Sherawala Gate to Dharam Singh Market stretch," the route along an imposing viaduct to/from the Golden Temple (GT) parking garage; 2. claim Golden Temple pilgrims prefer to walk the 1 km from the train station to the GT; 3. worry about disruption by PRT construction and utilities relocation; 4. don't understand how PRT will use the "7-ft footpath [right of way] on either sides of the road"; 5. say utility relocation has prevented activation of new $1200 street lights; 6. worry the PRT will cause tourists not to come to the "heritage bazaars." One critic suggests a fleet of government-owned "battery-operated or CNG vehicles" and "multi-storey parking lots" around the city to reduce congestion.
UK Tram, a British rail industry group, has issued How To guidances on developing PRT projects 7-20-2012
"Great" infrastructure. British trade office promotes Ultra overseas. 7-31-2012
Study ready on expanding PRT to Terminals 1, 2 and 3, awaiting BAA decision. Also proposals to serve car rental facilities. 7-31-2012
Airport World magazine: 3 other airports interested in Heathrow pod transit. Schiphol, Arlanda, and one in US. 8-6-2012
Editor's Blog: Cameron Emptor. 8-10-2012
"Amritsar PRTS project set in motion" - Alignment moved away from Hall Bazaar area, responding to concerns about congestion and historical significance. Final agreement with changes to be signed Aug. 31; construction to take 30 months.
:: India Tribune (9/25)- "Won't eclipse heritage sites". Open public process leads to compromise. New route is away from landmarks like the Hall Gate & Bazaar and Town Hall; guideway will facilitate view of Golden Temple and the Jallianwalla Bagh national memorial garden. Our map showing revised corridor to/from railway station
Ultra media brochure released -- Ultra Global PRT (16 page PDF) 9-29-2012
Ultra Fairwood unaware of changes. New changes not detailed, other than dropping Katra Jaimal Singh area.
(12/2) Heritage experts: revised route is also the route Sikh Empire founder Ranjit Singh would take to visit Golden Temple. No elevated roads or road widening in historic cities & towns, internat'l heritage group ICOMOS says.
CITIES at The Atlantic: Would More Drivers Use Mass Transit if It Mimicked Private Cars? 1-15-2013
A fairly broad introduction to pods. PRT academic Wayne Cottrell is quoted.
©MMXIII PRT NewsCenter
The NewsCenter has obtained several details concerning the new Ultra PRT system to serve Heathrow Terminals 2&3 (2-12-2013).
According to Ultra's Adam Ruddle, the T2&3 pod system will be separate from that of Terminal 5 in that the guideways will not be connected, "though both systems will be operated from a single control centre as this only requires a high speed data link."
"There will be a second maintenance facility associated with the T2/3 system," Ruddle said.
He said the new PRT will run from the T2&3 parking lot (north of the runways) to the terminals (south of the runways) via tunnels. This is similar to what was studied years ago to serve the Central Terminal Area.
Pod users will be able to take elevators & escalators to Underground and Heathrow Express rail stations.
"Ultra Feb 2013 e-news:
...As part of a consortium led by Quark of Brazil, a proposal for a public transport system for the Brazilian city of Florianopolis utilising Ultra PRT has been short listed for a final round of feasibility studies ahead of the award of a construction contract. With our partners, Ultra is now working on this major study which if selected would become the largest PRT system in the World."
Punjab invites competitive bidding; Vectus and skyTran said to be interested.
Patna is the capital and largest city of Bihar state.
Bhaskar News photo [still from Amritsar simulation]