Drivers for The Boring Company given script to sing Elon Musk’s praises

Driver’s manual states that questions about the founder are ‘extremely common and extremely sensitive’

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Thursday 29 July 2021 17:30
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Drivers at The Boring Company’s underground loop tunnel system in Las Vegas have been given a script instructing them what to say about the company’s founder Elon Musk and his car company Tesla, which provides the vehicles for the transportation system.

The Boring Company operates and manages an underground loop that takes attendees around the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) in modified Tesla vehicles. The loop opened for business in June.

The company’s website says its “mission” is to “solve traffic” and “transform cities” by creating “fast-to-dig, and low-cost transportation, utility, and freight tunnels”.

According to documents obtained by TechCrunch using public records legislation, drivers are instructed to avoid answering questions about how long they have been driving for The Boring Company, feign ignorance about crashes, and attempt to end discussions about Mr Musk.

A “Ride Script” advises new drivers on how to answer questions from visitors.

“Your goal is to provide a safe ride for the passengers, not an entertaining ride. Keep conversation to a minimum so you can focus on the road,” the script says. “Passengers will pepper you with questions. Here are some you may be asked and the recommended responses.”

If a visitor asks a driver how long they’ve been working at the company, they are advised to reply: “Long enough to know these tunnels pretty well!”

“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 states.

If riders ask how many “accidents” have occurred within the new system, drivers are urged to say: “It’s a very safe system, and I’m not sure. You’d have to reach out to the company.”

Drivers are advised to also give unclear responses to questions about how many drivers and employees The Boring Company has or how much the tunnels cost to construct – about $53m.

Nevada’s Clark County currently doesn’t allow the use of driver assistance features within the loop system, meaning Tesla’s “Autopilot” system cannot be used.

The part about what to do if a visitor asks about the “Autopilot” system was redacted and was marked “Public Safety Related Confidential”, in the documents obtained by TechCrunch.

The ride script states that questions about founder Elon Musk are “extremely common and extremely 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 document says.

If drivers are asked what Mr Musk is like, they are urged to say “he’s awesome! Inspiring / motivating / etc”.

For instance, if a driver is asked “Do you like working for him?” they are advised to say “Yup, he’s a great leader! He motivates us to do great work”.

If asked how Mr Musk is involved in the running of the company, the ride script states that the recommended answer is: “He’s the company founder, and has been very involved and supportive.”

And questions about Mr Musk’s at times strange tweets are supposed to be deflected with the answer: “Elon is a public figure. We’re just here to provide an awesome transportation experience!”

If asked, “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.”

Each of the 62 Tesla vehicles in the system is fitted with a camera in the passenger cabin streaming live video to a command centre a few blocks away, according to a document viewed by TechCrunch. The footage, along with recordings from 81 other cameras around the loop is saved for at least two weeks.

The Independent has reached out to The Boring Company for comment.

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