HomeLettersBurbankBus Might Benefit From ‘Hovercraft Route’

BurbankBus Might Benefit From ‘Hovercraft Route’

On Valentine’s Day in 2023, the City Council unanimously voted to halt passenger service on BurbankBus Green Route, which linked the subway’s North Hollywood Red Line station by surface transport to the Burbank Media District via Hollywood Way, Olive Avenue, Alameda Avenue and Buena Vista Street.

In effect, the City Council finally adopted the “Green Light-Red Light” economic scheme familiar to past kiddie TV viewers of “Sheriff John’s Lunch Brigade” (1952-1970). At its ending, the Green Route cost taxpayers $16.50 per passenger, according to the Burbank Leader reporter Gavin J. Quinton. In other words, the cookies were OK, but the milk had soured! Might there be another transportation technology option available that would greatly increase the passenger loads and, thus, decrease the per-rider cost?

Chrisopher Cockrell (1910-1999) invented the ground-effect aircraft popularly known as the hovercraft and for about 30 years it was notably used as the fastest means to cross the English Channel. Although never coming to fruition as a vehicle to link cities on the shores of the Great Lakes, it was proposed by Jack W. Dindinger, USMC, in the April 1976 issue of the proceedings of U.S. Naval Institution that a transcontinental land route could be developed which connected Southern California to Texas via a U.S.-Mexico border paralleling route.

Since Burbank hardly has the revenue base of the Pentagon [to pay for] a civilian passenger hovercraft route that interconnects Los Angeles River-bordering city of Burbank with the northern part of the San Fernando Valley, small and substantially less expensive hovercraft are required to make the service affordable and supportable! It has been more than half a century since Dindinger’s proposal and surely the technology has been further perfected, made increasingly cost-effective. So, maybe Burbank’s City Council members ought to make inquiries about the feasibility of a new “BurbankBus Green Hovercraft Route”?

Richard B. Cathcart


First published in the February 24 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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