If you ride the Boring Company’s Las Vegas tunnel, known as the Convention Center Loop, you might be tempted to ask your driver about the company’s founder Elon Musk. But don’t expect a straight answer. The company has a script for its drivers and TechCrunch got its hands on what employees are supposed to say. It’s every bit as ridiculous as you’d expect from a company run by the second wealthiest person on Earth.
When drivers are asked whether they enjoy working for Musk, they’re instructed to reply, “Yup, he’s a great leader! He motivates us to do great work,” according to a script obtained by TechCrunch through freedom of information laws in the state of Nevada.
The script has plenty of hypothetical scenarios for drivers in the Las Vegas “Loop” transportation tunnel, and encourages drivers to just change the subject if questions about Musk get too sensitive.
“Public fascination with our founder is inevitable and may dominate the conversation. Be as brief as possible, and do your best to shut down such conversation. If passengers continue to force the topic, politely say, ‘I’m sorry, but I really can’t comment’ and change the subject,” the Boring Company document says, according to TechCrunch.
Musk, a billionaire who thinks he’s much smarter than he actually is, has gotten a reputation as a vindictive prick who’s impossible to please, once firing an assistant of 12 years after she asked for a raise. Musk denies the circumstances around that particular firing, but either way, Musk seems like a real peach to work for. That fact is something Boring Company strategists have clearly anticipated in their talking points for drivers.
Another example of a potential passenger question in the document reads, “Is it true what I’ve read about him in the papers that he [is a mean boss / smokes pot / doesn’t let employees take vacations / etc.]?” Drivers are instructed to reply, “I haven’t seen that article, but that hasn’t been my experience.”
Elon Musk’s Loop transportation system was originally advertised as an autonomous underground vehicle idea that would carry people to their destination in high-speed 16-person vehicles traveling at 150 miles per hour. Instead, it’s just a human driver behind the wheel of regular Tesla cars taking passengers slowly in a tunnel between 30 and 40 miles per hour.
It’s a ridiculous downgrade from the original idea, to say the least, but Boring Company’s PR folks clearly understand the hazards of working with humans who can reply honestly to passengers if you don’t give them the right bullshit to say.
If riders ask a driver how long they have been with the company, they are instructed to respond with: “Long enough to know these tunnels pretty well!” The document goes on to note: “Passengers will not feel safe if they think you’ve only been driving for a week (even though that could mean hundreds of rides). Accordingly, do not share how long you’ve been employed here, but instead, find a way to evade the question or shift the focus,” the document advises drivers.
When asked how many crashes the system has experienced (the script uses the term “accidents”), drivers are told to respond: “It’s a very safe system, and I’m not sure. You’d have to reach out to the company.” Riders should expect similarly vague responses if they wonder how many employees or drivers TBC has, or how much the tunnels cost to dig. (About $53 million in total).
Optics aside, the documents obtained by TechCrunch also reveal that drivers aren’t always following the rules in the Las Vegas Loop, sometimes telling passengers that seatbelts are optional and evading questions about safety.
As TechCrunch explains:
During testing this spring, the documents reveal that Clark County officials found some drivers were not following all the rules. “When asked about the speed limitations, several drivers replied with wrong straightaway and/or curved tunnel speeds. None provided at station, express lane, or ramp speeds,” reads one document. “Drivers were not announcing to the passengers to buckle their seatbelts. When asked, [some were saying] that they are optional or not required.”
Great job, Elon. Sounds exactly like the future of transportation.