Jitneys or share taxis are very popular in the Caribbean islands among the workers commuting from the surrounding villages to the resorts and towns. The jitneys are more like a connective tissue spread across the islands where 10 to 15 people can travel in a single vehicle making frequent stops. By using the latest Maglev technology these jitneys can be transformed into a true transit system, which would prove to be very effective in transforming the congested corridors of a spread out and dense region like Orlando. The Maglev technology is safe, reliable and is already outstripping old technology in countries like China, France, Japan and Germany.
The new mini Maglev jitneys use EDS suspension developed in Germany with Halbach array magnets. The dimensions of the train car are 8’ wide by 30’ long; and can accommodate 8 to 10 people standing, and up to 14 people sitting. The jitney’s ability to ply rapidly along the crowded and central areas will certainly give people a new and fast way to travel. The jitney is silent and has no moving parts, and can ride along a buried guide way in the centre of the road. The jitney’s levitation magnet depressions are shallow enough to drive over, without being an obstacle like the rail road crossings. In cities like Portland, electric streetcars with buzzing and clicking pantographs are normal, but in Orlando they may prove as a liability owing to the hurricanes; and Maglev would be a safer and much more reliable mode of transport in the future.
The jitney rests on tires at each stop and powerful permanent magnets in the chassis lift it up off the guide way as it accelerates past walking speed. Solid magnets in the guide way present an opposing force. Electric power is present only underneath the vehicle’s footprint, which makes the guide way safe within the busy streets in the city. The jitney does not need a driver as it is controlled by a GPS computer that starts and stops the car. The motion detectors delay the car briefly as the passengers get on and off. The photovoltaic roof of the car powers the car’s lights, air conditioners, Wi Fi systems and other devices as it glides along. The car rests on its wheels and can be easily towed in case it breaks down.
As the cars are designed for short trips they are comfortable for both standing and seated passengers. The cars have bike racks in front and back for convenience once you reach your destination. The glass covered cars will provide a 360° view making the journey more pleasant and enjoyable. You can easily pay using the electronic jitney fare cards. You can use your smart phone application if you have any doubts about the route, stops and timetable. On call jitneys will be available for frequent travelers. All they have to do is electronically request a jitney at the desired stop. The frequency of these mini Maglev jitneys would be very good even in peak times making it a convenient, fast and reliable mode of transportation, setting Orlando apart from the other cities. This system is neither a 19 century train nor a 20 century bus, but is indeed a fine concept suitable to enhance the existing corridors of the city. Travelling in a mini-Maglev jitney featuring personal electronic systems would make mass transit more trendy and fashionable.
Source: New Geography – Richard Reep