Nate Calabrese almost skipped right over the "driver wanted" ad on job-search website Indeed.com because it offered so few details.
Turned out the posting was for the Boring Co., the tunneling business owned by Elon Musk.
That's how Calabrese, 27, ended up driving people underneath the Las Vegas convention center on Friday in one of the first public peeks at the so-called “Loop” Musk has constructed there.
The company's first big commercial project was set for unveiling at Las Vegas’s glitzy annual Consumer Electronics Show this January, but the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way.
Now, it’s ready for its first big deployment at the World of Concrete event from June 8-10, city tourism officials said Friday.
The Loop ride itself is short, matching the tunnels -- just about 0.4 miles (0.64 km) long for each of the four sections, making a total of about 1.7 miles of tunnel. But they make up for their brevity in fun, with enough pulsing colored lights that the staff has nicknamed the slick track “Rainbow Road.”
Comprising of a fleet of modified Tesla sedans that loop -- as their name implies -- among three stops, the system can carry passengers at speeds up to 40 mph (64 kph).
The idea is to move people around shows that pre-COVID-19 routinely attracted tens of thousands of people, in a sprawling space that comprises four different exhibit halls. The cost will be free to conference goers, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Riders who board at the South or West station stops will wait outside for their Teslas, and enter tunnels that slope down through entrances lined with painted gray rocks, amusement-park style.
Riders who board at the Central station stop ride down 40 feet via an escalator to a large open hall with room for Teslas to pull in so passengers can hop in or out. Each car seats three people at the moment because of COVID-19 restrictions, but they could hold as many as five.
Drivers all had to pass tests, including a driving exam, Calabrese said -- and a surprising number of applicants can’t nail the portion that requires them to reverse safely out of a spot, he said. The group had to drill for a number of emergency scenarios, including bomb threats, active shooters, and tunnel collapse.
The Vegas Loop was approved in May 2019 and built at a cost of $52.5 million, paid for by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Association.
Most of the funds came from hotel taxes.