In operation since April, a personal rapid transit system transports passengers between Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport (UK) and the business parking lot. New York Times writer Jim Witkin took the pods for a test spin:
Quiet and comfortable were my first impressions of the five-minute ride between the terminal and parking lot. Onboard, the only sound over the familiar whirr of the electric motor was the recorded voice announcement from the iPad-like control panel inside the car, assuring me that I was “almost there.”
BAA, which operates Heathrow, considers the pods a success. Twenty-two pod cars replaced two diesel buses and carry nearly 800 passengers every weekday; instead of looping around the airport, the pods save energy by operating on demand. Each car can carry four people and their luggage; BAA says that maintenance and repair requirements have been minimal thus far. At least one traveler remained skeptical about the future of the pods. “It seems to operate fine, but I wonder if this is just for PR value,” a business traveler told Witkin. “Would it work at the other, busier parking lots carrying many more passengers?” Link to full story in The New York Times.