I do sometimes find it cute how parochial the crowd on slashdot gets. I understand your point but do you realise how small a component of the market (defined in 10 - 50 years) of transportation you are? So, you stay outside a major population center in the US, population under a million?, now let's go and look at :
and see the areas where people would prefer good public transport infrastructure rather than private ownership of cars. These would be densely populated metropolitan areas, which represent high economic activity and demand. At a rough glance, that's 500 million to a billion people who depend upon public transport in their daily economic activity (even if they own a personal vehicle). That's the market that exists *today* which is only going to increase in the future.
Outside the US, Canada, Europe and Australia, personal vehicles are not common in non metropolitan areas. I have no figures but I think that'd be another 4 - 5 billion people. I'm pretty sure they'd welcome such services if the price drops enough and the technological problems are solved (this will take much longer but will be solved eventually).
This is the market at stake being addressed, it's by any accounts sizeable enough. The problems exist.