Now, in a move that could cut travel time between the two cities to a mere 25 minutes, the Maharashtra government announced on Sunday that it has entered into a framework agreement with Virgin Hyperloop One to construct a hyperloop route connecting Mumbai and Pune by 2025.
The finalised route which will connect Mumbai and Navi Mumbai International Airport to Pune is expected to help 26 million people.
The construction of the Pune-Mumbai hyperloop route will begin with an operational track built between two points on the route, the company said in a statement. "Branson pegged that Maharashtra will gain "$55 billion (INR ₹350,000 crores) in socio-economic benefits, time savings, accident reduction and operational cost savings, over 30 years of operation" of the hyperloop. "Possibly, India may have this track as the first operationalized route, though Dubai is competing close", Branson said.
The feasibility study will build upon the findings of the pre-feasibility study signed in November 2017 between the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority and Virgin Hyperloop One, it said. There have been global challenges in transportation due to over population over the last few years that attracted many developers and engineers from across the globe to plan newer routes for different cities.
Rob Lloyd, CEO, Virgin Hyperloop One, said: "We have always believed that India would be a tremendous market for Hyperloop".
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Hyperloop is a revolutionary means of travel proposed by maverick entrepreneur Elon Musk. "It will be an economic catalyst for the region and create tens of thousands of jobs for India's world-class manufacturing, construction, services and IT sectors, and aligns with Make in India initiatives".
To put in the context the benefits of the hyperloop, it can be noted that almost 120 Mn vehicles ply between Mumbai and Pune annually, and additionally about 25% of the cargo imported into Mumbai port move towards Pune.
The company has, however, assured that the Virgin Hyperloop will be delivered at an affordable price, and will be available for all, not just for the wealthy. Now we have another big news and it is for people living in Pune and Mumbai.
Actually, the company hopes to eventually set up a network, creating "the largest connected urban area in the world by linking almost 75 million people across the three metropolitan areas " of the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh". Apart from Branson, also present were VHO investors Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem (CEO and group chairman of DP World), and Ziyavudin Magomedov (chairman of Summa Group). It will also involve Indian investors, IT companies and the best brains in India.
Hyperloop One's rival HTT is also planning to start hyperloop tracks in India. And, according to The Economic Times, India just might be the first market for Hyperloop One, ahead of the Middle East, Northern Europe and the United States, where the company is considering rolling out its service.