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“The Government of Alberta should not invest in a high-speed rail transit system in the Edmonton-Calgary corridor at this time, because the population of the corridor is not sufficient to support the profitable operation of such a system,” the report concluded.
I don’t know if it’s science fiction, but we’ll never know unless we continue to do more testing
Sebastien Gendron, the company’s CEO and co-founder, figures he’s got a solution: The hyperloop could also haul freight, and solar panels placed along the line could be an additional revenue source.
“Most of the high speed rail around the world around the world are not profitable,” said Gendron. “It’s not to fill up the train — which is important — it’s to fill up the infrastructure.”
“That’s the main difference compared to a conventional rail track.”
Still, tubes in the air and shovels in the ground are still a long way off. On Tuesday morning, TransPod, a company headquartered in Toronto, and the Alberta government announced a memorandum of understanding; no financial commitment has been made by the Alberta government, but there would be further study on the feasibility of such a project.
“The MOU facilitates the process of attracting private investment to the province, in order to build a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure project,” says a TransPod statement.
The project has been in the works since 2018, when the company began discussing building a test track along Alberta’s Highway 7, between Edmonton and Calgary. The company says the project will create 38,000 jobs in Alberta over the course of 10 years. The feasibility study is expected to begin this year and construction to start by 2022.
“Best-case scenario … we could have a line operational by 2030,” Gendron said.
Various politicians, including Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, told media Tuesday they couldn’t help but root for such a project.
“I’m excited about it. I don’t know if it’s real, I don’t know if it’s science fiction, but we’ll never know unless we continue to do more testing with folks other than one entrepreneur who talks about stuff a lot in the U.S.,” said Nenshi.
Alberta has little by way of inter-city transit, especially since Greyhound left in 2018. That leaves travelling by car or truck down Alberta’s main arterial highway, the Queen Elizabeth II Highway, as the only practical way to get north or south in the province.
The 2014 study estimated that by 2031, there would be 105 million trips between Edmonton and Calgary annually, meaning that some sort of high-speed transit between the two cities is a good idea — in theory.
Commerce Dept. issues order prohibiting WeChat, TikTok dealings – MarketWatch
The U.S. Commerce Department said Friday it is prohibiting transactions involving Tencent’s
WeChat and Bytedance’s TikTok. “While the threats posed by WeChat and TikTok are not identical, they are similar. Each collects vast swaths of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories,” the release said. As of Sept. 20, any provision of service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store in the U.S. is barred, as is any provision of services through the WeChat mobile application for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S. The order makes no mention of the Oracle
deal with TikTok but said “the President has provided until November 12 for the national security concerns posed by TikTok to be resolved.”
COVID-19 medical coverage now available even though Canadians advised to avoid international travel – CBC.ca
Canadians yearning to travel abroad — despite the COVID-19 pandemic — can now get medical insurance to cover costs if they get sick with the coronavirus while travelling.
In March, when the virus began its global spread and Canada advised against non-essential travel abroad, travel insurance providers stopped selling COVID-19 medical coverage.
Now, several insurance providers have resumed offering the coverage along with their regular travel insurance plans.
Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and travel agency Flight Centre have also joined in, offering free COVID-19 medical coverage to passengers booking certain international flights and vacation packages.
Travel insurance broker Martin Firestone said he’s surprised by the spate of offers — considering Canada’s advisory against international travel remains intact due to the ongoing pandemic.
“Your country is now currently under a Level 3 travel advisory, and you’ve got airlines enticing people with free medical coverage,” said Firestone with Travel Secure in Toronto.
“Whether you have coverage or not, you may be in a very precarious position with [available] hospital beds and treatment and the ability to be flown back to Canada.”
Many companies providing COVID-19 coverage told CBC News they’re responding to consumer demand.
“People are looking to travel,” said Richard Job, Flight Centre’s vice-president of commercial partnership. “They are able to travel if they want to, and we just want to enable that to take place as safely as we can.”
International travellers returning to Canada must self-isolate for 14 days.
WATCH | The future of air travel:
Who’s offering coverage?
Manulife announced this week it will start offering the coverage in October.
The plans vary. For example, not all providers cover daily expenses if an infected traveller is forced to quarantine abroad.
Each company said it offers medical coverage for all ailments, including COVID-19, for up to $5 million — with the exception of Manulife, which has capped COVID-19 coverage at $200,000.
Manulife declined to comment on the cap.
Airline industry offering free coverage
Flight Centre and the airlines are providing free coverage only for COVID-19 illnesses and related expenses, such as accommodation costs while being quarantined. The offers are available for a limited time — ranging from the next seven months to a year.
Customers booking vacation packages with Flight Centre, Air Canada Vacations and WestJet to select destinations — which exclude the United States — are covered for up to $100,000 in medical bills. WestJet provides the same coverage for international flights, excluding the U.S.
Sunwing will cover up to $200,000 in COVID-19 medical expenses for passengers booking any of its vacation packages and flights departing on or after Oct. 16. Air Canada (which is separate from Air Canada Vacations) currently provides the same $200,000 coverage for customers purchasing international fights, including to the U.S.
Although the Canada-U.S. land border is closed to non-essential traffic, Canadians can still fly to the U.S.
Firestone questions if $200,000 would be enough to cover a severe case of COVID-19 in the U.S., where medical costs can run high.
“What if the bill is $500,000?” he said. “Then it becomes your problem.”
Manulife, which is partnering with Air Canada to provide the coverage, declined to comment.
Air Canada said that passengers wanting extra protection can consider purchasing an extensive travel insurance plan.
What about snowbirds?
Medipac’s main customers are snowbirds heading to the southern U.S. where the COVID-19 infection rate remains high. But the insurance provider said it’s confident it won’t be bombarded with COVID-19 claims, because Medipac’s clientele will likely play it safe.
“The people that we’re tailoring our product to are going to do what they’ve always done, travel down as a couple, go to their winter residence,” said Medipac spokesperson Christopher Davidge.
“We’re not talking about cramming into a discount airline … and staying at a resort hotel and going to a theme park.”
Snowbird Perry Cohen said he and his wife, Rose, plan to take all necessary precautions when they likely head to their condo this winter in Deerfield Beach, Fla., near Fort Lauderdale.
“Our community is pretty safe,” said Cohen, who lives in Toronto. “We’re not going to look for large crowds. We’re not running to the bars and the restaurants.”
Even so, Cohen said COVID-19 coverage is a game changer because he and his wife would never consider heading south if they couldn’t purchase it.
“Why take the risk?” he said. “I like a complete package to know I’m looked after.”
Cases ‘going up again’
But not all eager travellers will be swayed by COVID-19 coverage.
Avid international traveller Suzanne Chojnacki said she and her husband will stay put for now because they still have many concerns — such as getting stuck abroad if the country they’re visiting suddenly closes its borders.
“The [COVID-19 case] numbers are going up again,” said Chojnacki who lives in Richmond Hill, Ont. “So it’s really not a good time to think about going away — for us.”
Current plans offering travellers COVID-19 coverage don’t include compensation if a customer cancels a trip due to the pandemic. Firestone said that’s because cancellation insurance typically covers unexpected mishaps, not a “known” issue such as the coronavirus.
“It’s just so known, it’s not even funny.”
Some airlines are now offering free COVID-19 insurance – CTV Toronto
Many people don’t feel safe flying amid the COVID-19 pandemic and there are still government warnings in place against non-essential travel.
That is why airlines are now offering free COVID-19 insurance coverage.
But at least one travel expert says that may not be enough of a reason to book a flight anytime soon.
Martin Firestone, the president of Travel Secure, said, “I think insurance companies are looking to get back some lost sales that don’t exist right now and the airlines are of course looking for business.”
Taking a flight is more stressful these days with social distancing, mandatory temperature checks and having to wear a mask for the duration of a flight.
Now as summer comes to an end this is the time of year that many Canadians plan vacations to Mexico, Cuba and other parts of the Caribbean, but due to COVID-19 many travelers may opt to stay home this winter.
In an effort to try filling seats, Air Canada and WestJet are now offering free COVID-19 insurance coverage on some flights of up to $100,000 and Manulife has announced it will roll out a COVID-19 policy in October that will provide up to $200,000 in coverage.
The coverage for someone testing positive for COVID-19 would pay for emergency hospital and medical costs, quarantine accommodations and transportation home via ambulance or air ambulance.
Firestone said people need to realize that if they get a serious case of COVID-19 while travelling in another country and are hospitalized and on a ventilator for weeks, the costs could add up to much more than the coverage currently being offered.
“A claim upward of a half a million dollars is a possibility and the insurance company’s exposure may be capped at $100,000 to $200,000. Who is going to pay the rest? That would be the consumer,” said Firestone.
Firestone said COVID-19 insurance policies come at a time when borders to the U.S. remain closed and the Canadian government continues to warn against non-essential travel.
“I think this is a marketing plan that someone has devised, but a lot of thought has not really gone into it, because it totally goes against the government’s position on travel at this time,” Firestone added.
Many Canadians will be tempted to book vacations to sunny destinations as the cold weather arrives, but Firestone said until travel advisories are lifted and there is a vaccine people may want to stay put.
“The next two or three months I’m suggesting to hold tight and stay home,” Firestone said.
Even though some airlines are including free COVID-19 insurance coverage that is not the same as travel medical insurance. If you book a trip you still need to pay for that yourself in case something else happens while you’re away.
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