Monday, January 7, 2008

Future Buses (1939)

The September 9, 1939 Syracuse Herald Journal (Syracuse, NY) ran a short piece about the shift from railways to buses as a form of mass transit in New York City. The piece ended on an optimistic note about buses and alternative energy of the future. An excerpt appears below.
Doubtless some day the operators will have to meet the problem of increased fuel costs, for consumption of gasoline cannot go on forever at the present rate. But the day seems far distant when curtailment will be necessary - so far distant that no one save a few scientists and government conservation people are giving it any thought.

Even should shortage of gasoline develop, say, 50 years hence, it seems wholly probable that some new and economical means of propelling buses will have been discovered by that time.

Certain scientists are convinced that in the comparatively near future a method of transporting electrical current by wireless will be discovered which will make it possible to provide buses with power from central development stations.

See also:
Nazi Paleo-Futurism (1941)
'Flying Saucer' Buses (1950)


Unknown said...

Wireless power transmission shows up a lot in 1930s science fiction, too.

Salo said...

I suppose the main difference between the utopia and what actually happened is that they didn't see the possibility that batteries would become able to store larger amounts of energy.

Not to say we are there yet, but that's closest I can think of idea above.

Of course, in the communist countries busses ran on electricity as early as 60s (they ran cables over the streets and the busses drew energy from those, similarly to trains today).

Finland has similar busses at least at Helsinki at 70s, but they were phased out in favour of diesel and biogas.

Oh, and wireless power transfrer is still in the works. Has been since Tesla, I suppose. Would have been nice to know what he actually knew on the subject.. :)

Anonymous said...

We have wireless power now, it just has the side effect of cooking everything in between source and destination.

Probably a bad idea for public transit, in most places.