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Virgin Hyperloop One gets a new CEO: Jay Walder

Would not it be really nice to get places really fast ? That's the promise of the Hyperloop, a transport idea that was made popular in the 21st century by none other than its chief engineer / magician / dreamer Elon Musk. Five years after Musk wrote a whitepaper about the concept of a magnetic pull in a smooth, airless tube, Hyperloop has become a kind of legitimate business. Four companies with more than $ 300 million are struggling to build the first true company. And yet, despite all the promises and sheer coolness, a tube that can carry people or goods at speeds of up to 750 miles an hour is not a thing yet .

Today, however, the idea gets an injection on the street, with the announcement of Virgin Hyperloop One to win Jay Walder as CEO. Walder will replace Rob Lloyd, who led the Hyperloop company for three years.

If you're not a die-hard transit nerd, you may not know the name Walder. That's why you should do the following: Walder spent his first years working in finance and capital projects for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York's largest transit agency. In the early years, Walder was the Finance and Development Director of Transport for London, which controls the London Road and Transport Network. There, he helped launch Oyster card, the agency's first non-contact payment system, designed the city's 201

2 Olympic plan, and implemented a downtown jam pricing system.

Then it came back to New York to serve as MTA CEO and Chairman. In 2011, Walder left the city for Hong Kong, where he took over the management of mass and high-speed trains and develops real estate in Hong Kong. Three years later, Walder's three-year career transitioned when he was appointed CEO of Motivate, the largest bicycle operator in North America. He helped iron out technical issues at Motivate and drove them through significant growth before being taken over by Ride-Hagel Lyft in the summer.

Whats to Say: Walder has a long history of working in and with real-world governments on live transit projects that actually move people. Virgin Hyperloop One has not done that yet. He would like to help.

"This is a disruptive technology that is changing the way we move passengers," says Walder. "But unlike other disruptive technologies – like Uber, which comes to the cities," Hyperloop is something that needs to work in partnership and in partnership with them. "It turns out that you can not just start building human pipes without talking to local governments." Hyperloop One wants to work with many cities. It has reached a preliminary agreement with the Government of the State of Maharashtra to build a hyperloop between the cities of Punne and Mumbai, and hopes to begin building a 6.8-mile test loop next year. The company is working on very early feasibility studies with the states of Ohio and Missouri. In addition, discussions have begun with the United Arab Emirates, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Russia and Estonia. The company also has a 1,600-foot test track in the Nevada desert.

The company announced today that Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem will chair the event. Bin Sulayem is currently CEO and Chairman of DP World, Dubai's port operator and largest investor in Virgin Hyperloop One, replacing the recently deceased Chairman Richard Branson.

Proponents and experts of transit have often argued that moonshot-like technologies such as hyperloops are brilliant distractions – governments should use their time and money to create a fast, frequent, and usable transit rather than finding the next new one (and debug). Some responded in surprise when they heard that Walder, a staunch transit realist, was in Hyperloop.

"Intrigant" is a good word, "says Bruce Schaller, a former New York City transport official who is now a consultant." Walder had already moved away from working in the mainstream transit area, but if you thought one It would be a bit novel to run Bikeshare companies … "laughs Schaller." They have not heard anything yet. "

Walder says he's passionate about the Hyperloop's challenge and the prospect that the new transportation option will take any part "Hyperloop could help us rethink the way we build cities and satellite cities and make travel incredibly easy," he says. "It's an incredible new technology, but we have to Become a real project from the Science Fair. "This is of course his new job.

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