British business tycoon Richard Branson’s company Virgin Hyperloop One has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Maharashtra government to build a hyperloop transit system between Mumbai and Pune by 2025, BloombergQuint reported.

It will reportedly reduce the travel time between the two cities to just 14 to 25 minutes. It takes three to four hours at present to travel the 140-km distance.

“I have sat in Indian traffic every time I have come here,” Branson (pictured above) said on the sidelines of the Magnetic Maharashtra Global Business Summit in Mumbai on Sunday. “It is not a pleasant experience. And if I were an Indian, a lot of my life would be spent sitting in traffic jams.”

In a hyperloop, commuters would travel in pods or containers that would be inside a tube that is almost a vacuum. The container would either float using magnetic levitation technology or using air caster devices, and travel at a speed of more than 350 km per hour.

Branson said the company will take three years to construct a test track, which will also be part of the production track. The cost of building a hyperloop system would be much less than that of building a high-speed railway line, The Hindu Business Line quoted Branson as saying. The system, within 30 years, would result in $55 billion (Rs 3.54 lakh crore) in socio-economic benefits, time savings, accident reduction and operational cost savings, the businessman added, quoting from a feasibility study that the company had conducted.

“We are not pricing this for the wealthy, but it will be for the masses,” Branson said. “It is quite possible that India would be the first.”

The planned route would connect central Pune, Navi Mumbai International Airport and Mumbai, and will eventually support 150 million trips annually. It is likely to save more than 90 million hours of travel time.

Andhra Pradesh had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with United States-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies in September 2017 to build a hyperloop between Amaravati and Vijayawada.