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Bulletin Sept. 22-28: Porter Expands in Thunder Bay; Hyperloop Touted for Toronto-Montreal; Halifax's Forecast Is Cloudy with Guarantee of Meatballs

The Billy Bulletin appears every Thursday with news about travel and the cities we cover, to help our readers and passengers navigate the week ahead.

From taxis to tugboats, here’s what we’re reading about this week … 

Toronto and Montreal

Downtown to centre-ville in 39 minutes? That’s the sales pitch from a consortium called HyperCan, which whooshed its proposal into a top 10 list of potential hyperloop sites by Hyperloop One, a  U.S. firm developing technology for (you guessed it) hyperloop transportation systems. As the CBC explains, these would use “electric propulsion to move magnetically levitated pods through low-pressure tubes, eliminating air resistance and friction, and enabling the pods to travel at a velocity approaching the speed of sound.”

Hyperloop One makes the whole experience look slick and calm in a promotional video you can watch here; and as PBS explained last year, the feeling of riding in a hyperloop will be comparable to a bus or plane. Expect turbulence, however, when it comes to the nitty gritty of actually building the tube system – infrastructure construction is a lot slower than some hyperloop proponents have let on.

Halifax

You might not realize this is a big deal if you’ve never lived in Atlantic Canada, but Halifax is getting the region’s first Ikea as of Wed., Sept. 27, and this is very exciting to locals. Until now, the Swedish superstore’s closest location to the East Coast was all the way over in Montreal (which, take it from us, makes for major hassles and wait times when you’re ordering online from St. John’s …). Look for local attraction Theodore Tugboat – an anthropomorphized vessel that does tours of the harbour – to be waving an Ikea flag to mark the occasion.

Ikea

This is more fun than the ball room!

Washington

If you’re planning to be in DC at all this autumn, peruse this list of fall concerts to see if one of your favourite artists is planning to show up. Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, St. Vincent and Bruno Mars are all on their way, and for a change from pop, the resurgent electro-dance-rockers LCD Soundsystem do a two-night stand at the Anthem on Oct. 17 and 18.

4 AD Records

Annie Clark, doing business as St. Vincent

Chicago

"It's the worst it's ever been,” said a Chicago cab driver, lamenting the collapse of the traditional taxi industry in his city. According to this report, rides in city-licensed taxis are down 41% over the past four years – a pattern we’ll no doubt see replicated in other big cities where car services like Uber and Lyft are available and eating away at the old liveried cab industry.

Thunder Bay

Porter Airlines will open a new crew base in Thunder Bay next January – that is, it will establish the city as a place for its pilots and crew to live, joining Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax. In the airline’s announcement, president and CEO Robert Deluce said: “The ability to base crew there allows us to hire people who value their northern connections and also want an opportunity to fly larger aircraft to more locations.” Immediate (and hopeful) speculation among locals involves a hoped-for new routes. Will we see Thunder Bay-Winnipeg? Thunder Bay-Minneapolis? Wait and see!

Porter Airlines

"After the photo shoot, can we go for pancakes?"

Travel news

There’s still no word on the details of Air Canada’s new loyalty program – which will succeed Aeroplan after July 2020 – but we now know this: The airline is seeking a credit card partner.

Meanwhile, you might think you’re stressed out, but remember South Koreans are living with a constant threat of (possibly nuclear) war. So, off on vacation they go, ideally to foreign destinations: “Online travel agency Interpark Tour said purchases of airline tickets to overseas destinations have more than doubled compared with … September 2016.” No word on how many of those tickets are one-way.

Finally, Irish airline Ryanair, which operates low-cost flights around Europe, is having to cancel 40 or 50 flights a day for the next several weeks, which will inconvenience some 400,000 passengers. The reason? It didn’t schedule pilots’ holidays properly, and is now trying to fix the situation by paying bonuses to pilots who reschedule their weeks off for the new year.

CEO Michael O’Leary declared mea culpa for the massive mistake, telling the press: “This is our mess-up [and] we will pay compensation to those passengers who are entitled to compensation.”

Published Thursday, September 21st 2017

Header image credit: Courtesy Transpod

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