Tomorrow, the San Jose City Council will consider whether to move forward with an important first step toward creating a state-of-the-art public transit connection between Diridon Station and the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport.
City staff are recommending the selection of a consortium of vendors known as San Jose Connection Partners. This group’s proposal includes the South San Francsico-based startup Glydways, which would serve as the “transit technology provider.” According to a press release from the City, “the proposed transit technology from Glydways uses small, autonomous vehicles driving along a fixed guideway” and would initially serve over 2,000 passengers per hour in each direction.
The City Council will be determining whether the 10th largest city in the country enters into the first portion of a multiphase agreement for San Jose Connection Partners to develop the project. The City’s press release notes that tomorrow’s decision represents “an early step in an exciting, first-of-its-kind project” that would help realize benefits such as improvements to traffic safety, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and congestion relief on roadways.
Glydways website boasts that, as compared to “traditional mass transit,” the company’s approach costs 95% less, utilizes a smaller footprint, and can move more people per hour faster with less emissions.
However, some opponents have shared concerns over the project’s cost. Monica Mallon, a transit advocate and columnist for San Jose Spotlight, indicated that the project would be “a lot more expensive than running a bus.”
Tomorrow’s decision comes as President Biden’s budget proposal last month included a $500 million federal injection into the BART extension project. This project would ultimately bring BART to Diridon Station. Perhaps someday, our readers will be able to transfer directly from BART to a “Glydcar” and head directly to the airport.