The 140km Hyperloop project in India has been put on hold as a result of the coronavirus, with no set date to restart, Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Jay Walder has confirmed.

The project had been predicted to become the first publicly used Hyperloop project in the world, connecting the cities of Mumbai and Pune in the state of Maharashtra, and is expected to provide dramatic benefits for the 20 million residents of the former and the 6 million of the latter.

“It takes almost four hours to go between those two cities. With Hyperloop it would be 28 minutes and that difference is truly amazing to people,” said Walder, speaking today at a talk at tech conference Collision at Home.

“Virgin Hyperloop One was designated as the original project proponent for this. They’ve officially moved forward with Hyperloop to be able to do this and we’ve been working with the government literally on the final contract documents and doing that.”

However, he has confirmed that the project is now delayed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The unfortunate part is that the state of Maharashtra has been hit incredibly hard by coronavirus,” he said.

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“We are clearly on pause right now. The priority for the for the state government is the health and safety of the of the people in that state. And I hope that we can pick that up soon, but clearly it will depend on the on the crisis.”

Despite the delay, Walder remains confident that Hyperloop can provide environmental benefits in India and beyond.

“Climate change, climate crisis is something that we have in front of us. And people are looking and saying: transportation is one of the key areas that contributes to that climate crisis, we should have 21st century solutions to be able to deal with a 21st century problem,” he said.

“I’m hearing that around the world. You hear that in the Middle East where they have a desire to build new infrastructure, but they want to do it in an environmentally friendly way. You hear it in India with the project that we’re doing, and we’re hearing it around the world. I think it’s really exciting.”

Read more: Saudi Arabia university to collaborate with Virgin Hyperloop One