Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince met with Richard Branson to further discuss the possibility of a hyperloop system connecting the capital city of Riyadh with Jeddah, a port city. According to the company, the total trip time would be reduced from 10 hours to a mere 76 minutes.
Virgin Hyperloop One/Media Release
As part of its "Vision 2030" proposal, Saudi Arabia's leadership has expressed a desire to diversify its economy to ensure sustainability. The proposal notes that Saudi Arabia is at the crossroads of important international trade routes. Therefore, the sovereign Arab state is seeking to maximize its unique geographic position by investing in transportation infrastructure that facilitates a smoother flow of goods, people, and capital. This long-term vision involves international collaborations with the private sector.
In a statement, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz said, "Hyperloop is the catalyst to enable all 4th generation technologies to flourish in the Kingdom while creating a vibrant society and thriving economy through visionary cities and high-tech clusters." In turn, the company acknowledged the value of continued support and collaboration from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk may be re-prioritizing his objectives for the revolutionary transportation system that is, largely, an extension of his personal brand for innovation. In March, he posted a string of tweets emphasizing the needs of pedestrians and cyclists over cars. He suggested that mass transit could become personalized, with thousands of small stations blended seamlessly into the fabric of a city as part of an "urban loop system."
Musk characterized this adjustment to his company's vision as a matter of courtesy and fairness, noting that "if someone can't afford a car, they should go first."