Elon Musk’s Boring Company will let you pay for travel with Dogecoin

The Loop consists of passengers traveling in Tesla vehicles that are driven by humans at about 35 miles per hour, significantly a scaled-down version of founder Elon Musk’s original vision of high-occupancy vehicles traveling at 150 mph. The Boring Company described automating driving and traveling at higher speeds in the future.

The new payment option arrived Friday when the Boring Company opened its first Loop station outside the Las Vegas Convention Center, which now has three stops. It’s also the latest example of Musk promoting Dogecoin, the cryptocurrency whose value has plummeted over the past year. The Boring Company hopes to eventually expand to more than 50 stations on the Vegas Strip, including casinos, resorts and Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders. Clark County, Nevada, approved expansion plan last year that would not use taxpayer dollars.
Rides are currently free on the Loop, with plans to charge eventually, though the company hasn’t revealed a specific time. A single ride will cost $1.50, and day passes can be purchased for $2.50, according to the Vegas Loop website. Travelers will be able to scan a large QR code on the wall of the new Resorts World station to purchase a ticket. People who don’t want to pay with Dogecoin can use a traditional credit card and US dollars.
Dogecoin started as a joke in 2013 featuring a Shiba Inu dog that was a popular internet meme. Cryptocurrencies have had many critics, including Dogecoin creator Jackson Palmer, who left the space and said he won’t back down given concerns that powerful cryptocurrency insiders are getting rich by exploiting the public.
Dogecoin rose to prominence when Musk talked about it in recent years, including on Saturday Night Live. One Dogecoin can be purchased for around 7 cents, well below its peak of approximately 68 cents. which hit last year. The cryptocurrency jumped around 4,000% in 2021, but like all cryptocurrencies faced a sharp decline this year. It has fallen by 70% in the last 12 months.

The new Loop station at Resorts World will not connect underground to the three existing Loop stops at the Convention Center. The stations will be connected to other stops like Resorts World in the future as the Loop is built in Vegas, according to Lori Nelson-Kraft, a spokeswoman for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Resorts World guests can travel from the resort to a new station, Riviera, at the Convention Center. If their trip then connects to the three existing Convention Center stops, they will travel through a parking lot and re-enter the tunnels at a Convention Center stop called West Station.

The company plans to transport about 400 passengers per hour from Resorts World, and hours will vary depending on the Convention Center’s schedule.

Tesla vehicles do not depart on a fixed schedule like a typical bus or train. Until now, guests had to wait a few minutes at most for a ride, according to Resorts World spokeswoman Dana Rutkin.

After a passenger boards a Tesla at Resorts World, there may be a short wait again. Currently, there is only one tunnel connecting Resorts World to the convention center campus, so traffic will flow in one direction at a time.

“The journey is still very fast, but it will be, hey these five cars are going through this direction. When they are safe at the passenger station, she will change directions,” Nelson-Kraft said.

The Boring Company digs small tunnels with a single lane, which allows it to build tunnels at lower costs. Some tunneling projects can cost up to $1 billion per mile. The Boring Company is also working on projects in Florida and Texas.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk first announced in December 2016 that he planned to buy a tunnel boring machine and “just start digging” as a way to beat traffic. He called the venture “The Boring Company” and dug a tunnel in front of SpaceX’s headquarters in California.

Las Vegas is home to the Boring Company’s first Loop system, which is said to be a better subway because vehicles don’t have to stop short of their final destination. Critics say the Loop inefficiently uses tunnels because the Tesla Model Y SUVs in use don’t have the capacity of a bus or train.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which operates the convention center, told CNN Business that the Loop has carried more than 400,000 visitors and received an average satisfaction rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars.

The Boring Company did not respond to a request for comment.

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